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FYW1050 Introduction to College Writing (McDonough) Fall 2018


The 5 W's of Evaluation

The 5 w's (whowhatwherewhen, and why) are the questions that journalists use to quickly gather the facts to understand a complete story. 

Use these same questions to get the whole story on your sources- if you are unsure about the answers to these questions when applied to your sources, then you should consider searching again. 

Who? What? Where? When? Why?

Who created the information?

-Do they have the education, experience, expertise to write about this topic effectively?

Whom was this information created for- children, general audiences, scholars, professionals in the field, etc? 

-Is this an appropriate level for the your research? 

What is the content of the information?

-Are the conclusions of the author supported by evidence in the form of citations, footnotes, a bibliography or other references?

What do other authors say about the same topic?

  • How does the information in this source compare to the conclusions and evidence of other authors?

Where is the information published or available? 

-Does the publisher have any political or financial affiliations that may impact the way authors report their research?

-Where does the money for research originate?

When was the information created? 

-Have any significant events occurred that impact the conclusions of the information?

-Were new studies conducted on the same topic since this information was published, how do the conclusions compare? 

For web content: when was the information last updated?

Why was the information created? 

-Is the purpose of the information to inform, entertain, convince, or sell something to the reader?

-Do the authors appear to have any biases or other motivations for creating the information?

Is my source scholarly? (University of Illinois Library)

Evaluating Sources Activity


In your groups, focus on evaluating the assigned source based on the criteria we've discussed. Work together to determine if the assigned source is appropriate for college level research and also determine whether or not it is a good source to use to research the sample question. Record your answers in the chart and be prepared to share your findings with the rest of the class.

Sample Research Question:

Have social media sites led to an increase in bullying among young adults?


Online Health and Safety: From Cyber Bullying to Internet Addiction


How Does Cyberbullying Affect the Lives of Young People


Social Media Use and Conduct Problems in Emerging Adults


Cyberbullying: Bullying in the Digital Age