Sourcing using O.P.V.L

When we’re researching, we need to find information we can use. But not just the first thing that comes up on Google Search, we need accurate information! So how do we do this? O.P.V.L helps if you apply it to your sources. Ask yourself the following questions…

 Origin: Where does this source come from? Who wrote it? Are they qualified? Is this a personal blog or an official publication?

  • Date, time, and location all affect how the source can be interpreted.
  • Whether a source is a public or private source can influence whether it is reliable.
  • Who a source comes from (organization, person, nation, TV Station) can affect its credibility, or can suggest that it might be biased.


Purpose: Why was it created? Who or what was it written for? Was it for an official publication or a newspaper, as a hobby or a job?

  • What do you think the author was trying to convey in this document?
  • What principles or statements of interest are offered?
  • Who was the recipient/audience?
  • What effect did the author intend to have?
    • A newspaper article is indeed to be read by the public and be widely available.
    • A textbook is written to inform the general public or students.
    • A government document may be intended to inform a group of politicians about something or to inform the public.
    • A blog is meant to be read by the people who are interested in that “world”
  • Many sources today are written in RESPONSE to one another


Value:  How useful/reliable is it? What is it useful for? What are the good things about it?

  • Why should you trust the author? Why should you trust his/her information?
  • A primary source is not always more useful than a secondary source.
  • A primary source provides an impression of what it was like to be at an event.
  • A secondary source may give a broader picture of the situation.


LimitationsIn what ways is this source NOT believable/reliable? What is not so good about this? 

  • At what point does the source STOP being valuable?
  • Is the author telling the whole truth or is it their opinion?
  • Is the author expected to be telling the whole truth? Gossip columns?
  • Is the author claiming to tell the whole truth?
  • Can the author back up his/her information?
  • How can you verify it in another
  • Every source has limitations.




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