Evaluating Source Backgrounds and Biases


By practicing this exercise, you can develop critical thinking skills in assessing source backgrounds and biases. This will enhance your ability to identify credible sources and make informed judgments about the arguments and evidence presented in debates.


Choose a debated topic

Select a topic of interest for the exercise, such as "The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health."

Identify sources

Find a range of sources related to the topic, including articles, research papers, opinion pieces, and reports from different authors, organizations, and media outlets.

Research source backgrounds

Conduct a background check on each source to understand the author's credentials, expertise, and affiliations. Look for information about the organization or publication they are associated with and consider their track record, reputation, and potential biases.

Assess credibility

Evaluate the credibility of each source based on their expertise, objectivity, and potential conflicts of interest. Consider whether the author or organization has a particular agenda or bias that may influence their perspective on the topic.

Analyze biases

Examine the biases of media outlets, think tanks, and organizations frequently cited in the sources. Research their known affiliations, political leanings, or any other factors that may impact their objectivity.

Reflect on implications

Reflect on how the backgrounds and biases of the sources may influence the arguments and evidence presented. Consider how this knowledge can inform your evaluation of the information's reliability and potential impact on the debate.


You can draw and fill in the matrix. In the "Background Information" column, you can provide a brief summary of the author's credentials, expertise, and affiliations. In the "Biases" column, you can note any known biases, affiliations, or potential influences on the source's perspective.

Debated Topic: The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health

Select 3 sources and provide Background Information and Biases.