Evaluating Research Sources

Locating effective supporting material is an essential aspect of speech planning and delivery. Finding an accurate and reliable source to draw from should be one of your key considerations. When we talk about finding or using a “source, ” you should be able to tell your audience where you found the material that you chose to support your ideas. Luckily, you will never lack sources; the world is full of them. The information that you need to support your ideas can be found online, in books, periodicals, magazines, and newspapers, to name a few. It has been our experience that college students often understand better than anyone how to locate sources; the problem for most students, however, is evaluating the reliability and validity of the information that they’ve found. Some sources are less reliable than others, so it is essential that you evaluate each potential source before deciding to include or exclude the information from that source. Using the following three criteria as you consider each source will help you to correctly evaluate the quality of the information you have found.