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Michigan State University

ANS 409: Advancements in Reproduction

Resources for answering ANS 409 research questions. Last updated: 8/16/21.

Wikipedia

Things to Remember When Using Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a common starting point for many people researching a new topic. It can be a great resource, but there are a few things you want to keep in mind.

1) Anybody can contribute information to or edit Wikipedia and there is no way of telling who they are. Use your judgment when determining if information is correct.

2) One of Wikipedia's greatest strengths is that it provides an in-depth overview of a topic with links to the original source of information. All good entries will give you many places to consult for further information.

3) According to Wikipedia guidelines, entries should be neutral and present the facts without bias. Be cautious in using information from an entry that seems to favor only one side of an argument.

4) Information in Wikipedia may evolve over time. It is a good idea to periodically check for updates on a topic if you are studying it over time.

5) Links in the Notes and References sections may not provide you with the full text of that resource. It is a good idea to search for these items at the MSU Libraries.

Evaluating Sources

When evaluating the reliability of a resource it is important to look at it's authority, accuracy, scope, currency, bias, and style. The following questions can be used as a guide when examining each of these criteria:

 

Authority

  • Who is the author?
  • What is their experience and expertise?
  • What is their affiliation?
  • Can you tell what their purpose is for providing this information?

Accuracy

  • Are sources provided for facts and statistics?
  • Do the sources cited seem correct?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?
  • Is the information in agreement with other sources?

Scope

  • Is the source considered scholarly or popular?
  • Is there a well-reasoned argument?
  • Is the information one-sided?

Currency

  • When was the information created?
  • Have there been any recent updates?
  • How recent are the cited sources?

Bias

  • Why was the resource created?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Does the author indicated any conflicts of interest?
  • Is the author trying to sway opinion or promote a product?

Style

  • Is the language clear and easy to understand?
  • Does the source appear professional looking?
  • If there are links, are they broken?
  • Are figures and illustrations easy to read?
  • Is the information well-organized?

 

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