The following questions relate to the author and source.
- Who is the author? Is the author an expert in this field?
- What is the source of the text? Is it trustworthy?
- When was it published? Is it recent?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What is the author’s purpose? Is it a neutral purpose (e.g. to explain or to inform) rather than a more biased purpose (e.g. to persuade)?
The following questions relate to the evidence the writer uses.
- How strong is the evidence?
- Are all the points made by the author supported by evidence?
- Does the writer avoid making unsupported generalisations?
- Is there a clear distinction between fact and the author’s opinion?
- Are citations used? If so, are the cited sources trustworthy and recent?
- If there are any images or diagrams, are they clear? Do they relate directly to points in the text and support the author’s argument?
- If it is a research article, is the methodology valid (e.g. sample size, method of sampling)? Are the limitations clear? Are the results consistent with the objectives?
The following questions relate to the assumptions the writer has, and any potential bias.
- What assumptions has the writer made? Are they clear to the reader? Are they valid?
- What is the author’s stance (i.e. position) on the topic? Is this explicit?
- Does the writer present a balanced viewpoint? Are other viewpoints considered (e.g. via counter-arguments)?
- Does the writer represent the ideas of others accurately?
- Are the writer’s conclusions reasonable in the light of the evidence presented?
- Is the writer’s language neutral? Does the writer use tentative language (e.g. It appears that… This may be caused by…) and avoid the use of emphatic words/phrases (e.g. It is obvious… Clearly… Of course…)?
- Does the writer avoid using emotional language and dramatic images?
- Are the examples representative and free from bias?
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