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Section of pie chart representing validity  

It can be difficult to judge the validity of information in a discipline in which you are not familiar. Consider the following:

  • Does the train of thought and ideas expressed in the information source make sense, or does it contradict itself?
  • How much information does the author provide about how they obtained their data? Are the research methods and data collection techniques used to support the information valid in the discipline?
  • Have counter arguments and alternative explanations been acknowledged and considered?
  • If there is a bibliography or references listed, are the authors experts in that field?
  • If sources such as statistics are used to support an argument are they collated from reliable sources?
  • Has the information been reviewed by an expert in the field? If the information source is a journal article, has it been through a peer-review process?
  • What are the advantages or disadvantages of relying on a native speaker/scholar’s viewpoint of another culture, as opposed to an “outsider’s” viewpoint?
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