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Bioethics Seminar: Evaluating Sources

Resources for Ms. Mo-Fish and Ms. Sweeney's seminar, Fall 2020

Scholarly Journal Articles vs. Popular Magazine Articles

Evaluating Sources: the Peer Review Process

Getting Started: Suggested Sources

Databases with Peer Reviewed Articles

Roman Catholic Sources

Selected Sources: Recommended Articles and Websites

Database Password List


Using Boolean Operators in a search: AND, OR, NOT, +,  --  

AND decreases the number of results, since a source MUST CONTAIN ALL SEARCH TERMS,                        e.g COVID-A19 AND vaccine AND safety

OR increases the number of  results, since a source only needs to contain ONE of the SEARCH TERMS entered

NOT decreases the number of results, since it EXCLUDES SPECIFIC search terms

Evaluating General Online Information

General Online Searches-- Red Flags                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Indicators that a source might be deliberately misleading include:

  • Appeals to extreme emotional reactions. If you find yourself overly outraged or intensely hoping a story is true, perform a two-source check and see how established, reliable organizations have covered the story.
  • Sources that don't clearly disclose who made them and what their authority is. A responsible organization will have an about page, a list of editors and other staff, and ways to contact it. Remember, professional news organizations want credit for a job well done. When in doubt, do some research on the source itself.
  • No attributed sources or reliance on sources that aren't credible. Good sources attribute where they got their information, and they use sources that are knowledgeable and trustworthy. If your story is referencing or linking to sources that aren't Verifiable, Independent, and Accountable (or worse, has no sourcing at all), you may want to use another.
  • Sketchy domain names or unprofessional production. is a real news site. is not. If the URL of a site looks a bit off, do a bit more digging to see if the news organization is legitimate -- and if that's their real page. Also, while a high-end website is no guarantee that information is accurate, a poor quality one riddled with bad grammar and amateur-ish design should prompt you to find out more

Reproduced from the University of Washington Library, 


This short video is from the Open University Library