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Chapter 19. Cast a Critical Eye > An Embarrassment of Riches - Pg. 218

Cast a Critical Eye 218 Author! Author! Outside the United States, domain names often end with an abbreviation for the country of origin. For exam- ple, .au is Australia, .ca is Canada, and .uk is the United Kingdom. Another common abbreviation is .edu. It stands for an educational institution, all the way from elementary schools to universities. These are often very reliable sites because they post only verifiable information. How can you avoid being misled by biased reference materials? Here are some issues to consider as you evaluate a print or online text for misrepresentation: · Is someone quoted out of context? · Are facts or statistics cited in a vacuum? Writer's Block The name "junk mail" says it all; when it comes to reference sources, junk mail doesn't make the cut because it is largely comprised of advertisements. · Does the quotation reflect the overall content of the source, or does it merely reflect a detail? · Has key information been omitted? To protect yourself against biased sources and your own bias, select reference materials that reflect opinions from across the spectrum. Take Aim: Purpose Different sources are written for different reasons. The following table summarizes some of the most common purposes you'll encounter. I've arranged the source in a loose hierarchy from most to least reliable, but stay tuned for more on that. Source scholarly books and articles serious books and articles newsstand magazines newspapers sponsored Web sites personal Web sites Purpose advance knowledge report information report facts report news report facts; sell products varies Authors experts experts; professional writers professional writers; reporters reporters varies experts to novices Reviewed yes yes yes yes sometimes rarely