If your professors says that you need "reputable" or "reliable" sources, what does that mean? It usually indicates that they want your sources to be published through some system that has an editing, review, and/or fact-checking process, and that the sources should provide verifiable evidence to back up any claims.
The ACT UP method is a series of questions to guide you through learning more about a source and its societal context. It can help you determine that a source is or isn't suitable for your paper, and it will also help you learn more about each source you do use. This is especially useful if you are unsure about a source or the claims it makes.
|Author||Who is the author? What can you learn about them? What else have they written? Look at the author information given on the article, if available. Google them!|
|Currency||When was it written? When was it published? How current should something be for your project? Do you need something from a specific time period?|
|Truth||How are the claims supported? What is the evidence? Can you find other sources that also support the claims? Compare to other sources you have found, and do more searches.|
|Unbiased||What is the purpose of the source? Does it have a stated point of view? Is it trying to convince the audience of something? Could there be a hidden bias? Can you identify it? You don't need to avoid bias, but you need to identify what the bias is.|
|Privilege||There is privilege in both academic and popular publishing. These authors are probably not the only people who have something to say about this topic. What other perspectives would be relevant to this topic? Whose perspectives are missing?|
This is an example of using the ACT UP method as a note-taking guide to learn about and evaluate a source.
I did a search for "light pollution" and used one of the articles I found as an example. Read the example here in Google Docs or in the embedded view below. Then, you can get a copy of this template, and fill it in with information about an article you have read.
A well-supported argument needs several sources. Once you have assessed the first few sources you find, consider what purpose each of those sources serves in your paper and what else you need. Different sources work together as a team.
Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. 2016, https://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework.
Simmons University Library. "Evaluating Resources." 2022, https://simmons.libguides.com/c.php?g=883236&p=6363506.
Stahura, Dawn. "ACT UP for evaluating sources: Pushing against privilege." College & Research Libraries News [Online], 79.10 (2018): 551, https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/ view/17434/19242.
University of California - Santa Barbara Library. "ACT UP Source Evaluation." Vimeo, 2020, https://vimeo.com/449805343.