Questions to ask:

  • Who is the author/organization responsible for the information?
  • Does the author/organization responsible have an agenda?
  • Are any agendas or possible conflicts of interest (e.g., monetary gain from conducting/publishing the research) clearly communicated?
  • Are various points of view considered, or just those of the author?
  • Is the source free of advertising?
  • If advertising is included, is the advertising clearly separated from the content and identifiable as such?

What to look for when determining fairness:

  • Look for any information about the author or sponsoring organization, including their affiliations and causes they support.
    • Websites: look for an "About Us" or similar page.
    • Articles (scholarly or popular): look near the author(s)' name(s) and affiliations; this information is often included on the first/title page or at the end of the article, near any references.
    • Books: look on the inside flap of the book jacket or the back cover.
  • Are arguments well-reasoned? Is the tone calm and logical, or inflammatory/offensive?
  • Are there conflicts of interest? That is, does the author/sponsoring organization have a vested interest (financial or otherwise) in the issue at hand?

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