Whether it's a book, article, or website that you're getting your information from, it always has to be evaluated. Use the criteria below to help you decide whether a source is worth using.
Research done at the university level (whether it's for a proposal, essay, or capstone projects) should mostly include scholarly rather than popular information sources.
Scholarly tends to mean articles, books, conference proceedings, or technical papers that contain original research written by experts who have degrees or other experience in the subject. The author will cite articles, books, websites, and other information that they've consulted during their research.
If you are unaware of whether a source is reliable and of good quality, you can always look at some of its indicators (such as those outlined in the criteria to the left) to assess. Things such as the authority of an author or publisher, or the existence of the peer-review process are good indicators.
Bias is an inclination, preference or prejudice that determines how people see, analyze, write, and decide. Bias can take many forms including: educational, social, financial, political, geographical, and religious. Encountering and dealing with bias is unavoidable, but the key is to identify it in ourselves and others. While researching, you have to make the effort to find accurate and balanced information. Question and evaluate all sources.
Bias can show itself in a number of ways, but you can take actions to identify it.
Credit: Miller Library's "Detecting Bias" webpage at Keystone College.