In a world that is increasingly confronting the systemic inequalities inherent in society, Dawn Stahura from Salem State University developed a method of evaluating sources called ACT UP.
A - Author
- Who wrote the resource?
- Investigate the author. Background information is important.
- Do they have any conflict of interests due to any of their organizational affiliations. Conflicts of interests are bias
- Can't find an author? That may be problematic/\.
C - Currency
- When was the source written?
- Is the information/ sources drawn on in the source current?
- Can you locate the last time a website was updated?
- Is the website over a year out of date? Depending on your topic that may be problematic.
T - Truth
- How accurate is the source?
- Is the source poorly edited?
- Can you verify the information in other sources?
- Is the information in the source written in sensational, outrageous language? This may reveal the author's bias.
- Just because the source is taken from a "reputable" site does not mean that that it is inherently accurate.
U - Unbiased
- There is no such this as an unbiased source. We all have biases.
- If an author is up front with their viewpoint or intentions don't shy away. It is more concerning when a creator attempts to conceal their intentions.
- How was the research funded? The outcome of the research may have been skewed depending on where the money is derived from.
- Remember you have your own implicit biases as well. Are you choosing only sources that fulfill your confirmation bias? You may be trying to prove a specific thesis but this does not mean you should selectively cite sources that only confirm your initial thoughts.
P - Privilege
- Historically white, male researchers and scholars have been privileged in academic publishing.
- Whose voices are missing or being silenced from the scholarly conversation?
- Remember, scholarly sources are not the only worthwhile sources. Take your time to locate other mediums that may be easier for marginalized voices to publish their research. Books, blogs, zines, open access journals are all worthwhile expressions of scholarly information as well.
- Remember your own privilege. Access is a form of privilege. Is this resource behind a paywall or require an academic affiliation? How does this effect the research of others who do not have your access?
This portion of this guide on "ACT UP" has been adapted from Salem State University Library. "ACT UP" and the ACT UP Infographic were created by Dawn Stahura, Research & Instruction Librarian for Health & Science - Salem State University.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.