Has anything been left out?

Some publications fail to present all facts or cover all perspectives. Even if a publication is a scholarly source it might be biased. Consider the following topics. Is it safe to rely on just one published source?

  • the Euro and Britain
  • testing athletes for “over the counter” medicines
  • the assassination of Kennedy
  • Enron Corporation
  • mobile phone masts and health risks

It is rare to find all academics in complete agreement on a topic. More often academics will hold differing views and will attempt to support their hypotheses with research evidence. By demonstrating a depth of research in your work, you show consideration for all aspects of a topic.
If there is contradictory or conflicting information that you have failed to consider, your conclusions may be questioned. You need to demonstrate that you are aware of alternative views and explain why you disagree.

What kind of language is used?

Some sources are written in an objective style using specific and unemotional language. Most academic sources use this style. Use of emotionally charged language or language that is vague and general may be a clue that the information is biased or misrepresents the facts. The style of writing and language used is usually indicative of the purpose of the information.

Activity:

Visit a web page, then evaluate it by considering: 

  • Who wrote this information?
  • What the purpose of this information?
  • Does the information present all sides of the argument?
  • What style of language is used?

Creative Commons Licence
SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.