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SCORING YOUR RESOUCES FOR RELIABILITY

3 Highly Reliable Sources--witnesses and experts. 

An eyewitness that wrote her account close to the time of the event. 
          A survivor of the Titanic gives sworn testimony one month after the sinking

An expert that is nationally or globally recognized. (You may need to ask an educated adult). 
          The Center for Disease Control writes about smallpox.   
          A paper detailing the dangers of the modern battlefield is released by the Pentagon.   


An expert involved fulltime on a specific problem or in a specific field, even though he or she is not nationally known.     
          A lawyer writes about a case that she prosecuted.   
          An archeologist writes about a dig in which he participated. 

2 Reliable Sources--professional reporters and lecturers, standard reference, high caliber opinions. 

An eyewitness that wrote his account some time after the event. 
         
A survivor of the Titanic writes about the event after a generation. 

A person with generalized expertise.     
          An article about smallpox that was written by a doctor that is not involved fulltime with this disease. 
          An article about a court case that was written by a lawyer that was not involved in this particular case. 


A nationally or globally recognized news-source. 
          ABC, BBC, CBS,CBC, CNN, ESPN, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times,
          Newsweek, Time, USA Today, Wall St. Journal, etc.


Standard  Reference Works 
         World Book Encyclopedia, Guinness Book of World Records, Webster's Dictionary, etc.       

A nationally syndicated columnist that gives an opinion on a non-technical subject. 
          Examples of  nationally syndicated columnists include: Dave Barry, David Broder, William F. Buckley,
          Linda Chavez, Richard Cohen, Ann Coulter, Maureen Dowd, Matt Drudge, Larry Elder, Ellen Goodman,
          Mark Helprin, David Horowitz, Inside The Beltway, Inside Politics, Inside The Ring, Molly Ivins, Jack Kemp,
          Larry King, Dr. Laura, David Limbaugh, Rush Limbaugh, Joe Lockhart, Michael Medved, Dick Morris,
         Peggy Noonan, Oliver North, Robert Novak, Off The  Record, Jim Pinkerton, Anna Quindlen, William Raspberry,
          Dan Rather, Rex Reed, Charley Reese, Richard Reeves, Bill Safire, Tony Snow, Joe Sobran, Thomas Sowell,
          Andrew Sullivan, Cal Thomas, Ray Thomas, George Will, Jeannie Williams, Walter Williams, and others.

An author who gives complete documentation of the original source when he or she uses material that was originally recorded elsewhere.   
          This means the source has a hypertext link that works or has a complete works cited entry of its original source . 
          Second-hand information can never score higher than 2. 

1 Questionable Sources -- Pressure Groups, everyday opinions, and faulty reporting.

The source is an advocate group--an organization with an agenda, a point to prove, a issue to promote, or an axe to grind.
          This would include opinions MADD, the ACLU, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, the 700 Club, Right to Life, Planned
          Parenthood, Frontpagemag.com, Republican Party, Democratic Party, PAW, NOW, the NRA, the NEA, etc. 

The author is someone without any particular expertise, but who gives his or her full name. 

          This would include opinions on personal pages, electronic bulletin boards, a letter to a newspaper, a term paper published
         on the web  by high school or college student, etc. 
An author who fails to give complete documentation of the original source when he or she uses material that was originally recorded elsewhere.   
          This is an author that does not have a working hypertext link or full works cited entry, but he or she does give some reference
           to the original source. 

         

0 Very Questionable Sources -- anonymous authors, rumors, and mystics. 

An opinion given without the author's full name. 
         This would include any opinions on personal pages, electronic bulletin boards, letters to a newspaper, etc. 
         
Sources that use quotations from people or references to eyewitnesses without documenting the original source. 
          Rumor and hearsay do not constitute sources. 
         
Any author that derives information from "the beyond".
          This includes any information that is gathered through crystals; from psychic vibrations; from UFOnauts or Atlanteans;
          from measurements of the Pyramids, Stonehenge, or other ancient structures; from hidden mathematical equations
           in essentially non-mathematical items; from hidden messages in ancient scriptures; messages directly from God, angels,
          or demons,  to any modern author; from ghosts or otherwise dead people; from spirits in the earth, rocks, trees,
          or anywhere; from hypnotized persons; from Nostradamus; etc. 

ExceptionA writer may use these types of sources if they are the topic, but not to support another topic. 


For example, if a student were writing a paper about psychics, it would be appropriate to use sites created by psychics to make his or her point.  In the paper, the student would recognize that psychics are deriving their information in a manner that is out of the mainstream, because that is what is being discussed. 


However, if a student were writing a paper on the assassination of JFK, it would be inappropriate to use information from a psychic to support his or her points.  Regardless of the writer's personal beliefs about psychics, they are not today considered an acceptable source of information. 

Subjects for Caution: Weird subject-matter does not automatically give a source a zero score.  Many of these topics have been seriously discussed and investigated, but recognize that they are also nut-magnets.   

Aliens & "Others": Life in Space, Life on Mars, ancient visitation of aliens to EarthArea 51, alien abduction, livestock mutilations,
            Alien origin of humanity or of civilization, Communication with aliens, elves, leprechauns or other magical beings, etc. 

Astronomical or Cosmic Occurrences: rearrangement of the order of the planets; ancient, sudden disasters to our planet such as
           realignment of our poles, Coming catastrophes, on-the-horizon major historical events, astrology, etc.

Massive Rearrangement of History: Elimination of all Ancient History; Ancient but highly advanced civilizations, Atlantis & vanished
            continents; etc.

Non-Physical Life: Life after death, near-death experiences, ghostly visitation, hauntings, demon possession, guardian angels,
           life force, the force, oneness with the universe, cosmic consciousness, etc
.

Political Fringe Groups and Conspiracies: UN soldiers secretly in America, "Black" helicopters, secret government agencies, Rewriting
          of major events of history including Holocaust and Gulag denial; New World Order fears, Cold War theories of World
          domination by secret conspiracy of the military-industrial complex; unusual solutions to the Kennedy assassination; secret survival
          of persons generally thought to be dead; conspiracies by the lluminati or Masons; Socialists, Communists, or Noam Chomsky;
          groups
that are openly Nazi, the Klan or other racial dominance group (of any color); The John Birch Society; etc

Use your Discretion: weird, strange, odd, or freaky sites should be examined with the utmost caution