Information Sources and Their Validity Evaluation


There are numerous sources of information that scholars and students can use in their research. They include, among others, journal articles, books, newspaper articles, and online resources. However, the bulk of these resources do not meet the validity requirements for them to be used in scholarly work. For example, they may lack empirical evidence to support the arguments made therein. They may also be published in an unreliable medium.

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In the current study, the author reviews several articles about their validity as scholarly sources. This review aims to determine whether the materials meet the criteria for scholarly work or not. The items analyzed include newspaper articles, journal articles, and resources published on Wikipedia.

Review of Information Sources and Determination of their Scholarly or Non-Scholarly Attributes


According to Cornell University Library (2013), the process of determining the validity of a given source of information assumes two broad perspectives. The two include an initial appraisal of the source and content analysis. An initial appraisal of the source of information entails a review of several attributes associated with the same. To this end, the individual reviewing the validity of that source analyzes its author, the date of publication, source edition, publisher, and title of the journal in which the source is published. On its part, content analysis encompasses a critical review of the intended audience, objective reasoning of the source, and coverage of issues. It also involves an analysis of the writing style used by the author of the source, as well as the critical reviews of other readers.

Reviewing the Sources

  • The first article is titled Business Ethics: A Helpful Hybrid in Search of Integrity. It is authored by Byrne (2002). The article can be regarded as a scholarly source. It is noted that the article was published in the Journal of Business Ethics, which is a respected publication in this field. Also, the author is affiliated to Indiana University, a scholarly institution. The article’s date of publication also proves that it is a relevant source. The reason is that recent articles tend to capture new developments in the field. On the contrary, older articles may contain obsolete information. In other words, the article by Byrne (2002) contains up-to-date information.
  • The second article is titled A Toy Maker’s Conscience. It was written by Dee in 2007. The article cannot be regarded as scholarly material. The main purpose of publishing this article was to generate and disseminate news. The objective is made evident by the language used by Dee (2007). Also, the author is a novelist. Dee is not known for writing scholarly articles. Also, the article is not cited. The sources from where Dee retrieved the information in the article are not acknowledged. As a result of this, it is hard to authenticate the information contained in this article.
  • The third article is written by Sirsly (2009). It is titled 75 Years of Lessons Learned: Chief Executive Officer Values and Corporate Social Responsibility (Sirsly, 2009). It is a scholarly article. Sicily uses information from other management scholars in writing this article. The author is affiliated with the John Molson School of Business. Such an affiliation strengthens the credibility and validity of their work.
  • The fourth article is titled Corporation Communication, Ethics, and Operational Identity: A Case Study of Benetton (Borgerson, Schroeder, Magnusson & Magnusson, 2009). It is a scholarly source. The article is published in one of the most reputable journals in the field of business ethics. Also, the article provides primary information from interviews with Benetton’s stakeholders. As such, it can be used as a primary source of information.
  • The fifth article is titled Deontological Ethics (Wikipedia, 2013). It does not qualify as a scholarly article. Wikipedia acknowledges that information provided through the website does not meet the requirements of scholarly or authoritative sources. In effect, the acknowledgment dismisses the website as a source of scholarly information. The information provided by Wikipedia is not reliable as it can be edited by third parties.
  • The sixth article is titled The History of Utilitarianism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2009). It can be regarded as a scholarly source. The article is published in an authoritative and scholarly website in the field of philosophy. Also, the article reviews works of authoritative figures in the field, such as Jeremy Bentham. Bentham has a reputation as one of the founders of modern utilitarianism.
  • The seventh article is titled Corporate Culture: The View from the Top and Bottom (The Economist, 2011). It does not qualify as a scholarly article. Although The Economist magazine focuses on business matters, the target audience is made up of the general public. Information contained in this magazine may not be factual, making it difficult to ascertain the credibility of the sources. Also, authors of articles published in this magazine are usually business reporters. As such, the information they present portrays a general viewpoint of business matters.


Any given field has several information sources. However, it is essential to determine the relevance, validity, and authority of these sources. If one fails to do this, they can easily end up using sources of information that lack credibility. The guidelines outlined in this paper can be used to determine the credibility of scholarly articles when one is conducting research.


Borgerson, J., Schroeder, J., Magnusson, M., & Magnusson, F. (2009). Corporate communication ethics and operational identity: A case study of Benetton. Business Ethics: A European Review, 18(3), 209-223.

Byrne, E. F. (2002). Business ethics: A helpful hybrid in search of integrity. Journal of Business Ethics, 37(2), 121-133.

Cornell University Library. (2013). Critically analyzing information sources: Ten things to look for when you evaluate an information source. Web.

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Dee, J. (2007). A toy maker’s conscience. New York Times, p. 34.

Sirsly, T. (2009). 75 years of lessons learned: Chief Executive Officer values and corporate social responsibility. Journal of Management History, 15(1), 78-94.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2009). The history of utilitarianism. Web.

The Economist. (2013). Corporate culture: The view from the top, and bottom. Web.

Wikipedia. (2013). Deontological ethics. Web.

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