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Online Class Library Research Guide: Evaluating

English 1000

Evaluating Information

Why evaluate?

  • Not all authors have strong academic credentials
  • Not all information is vetted or reviewed before publication, especially on the Internet
  • The amount of Information - in books, articles, web, radio, tv, etc. - can get overwhelming unless you critically evaluate and filter sources
  • Your professors want you to use scholarly information, but not all information is scholarly

Videos: Using Wikipedia Wisely

Evaluating Wikipedia can be tricky.  Use these tips to check the credibility of a Wikipedia article.

Criteria for Evaluating Sources

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

• Check the date of publication.
• Look for updated or revised information.

Relevance: Determine if the information relates to your topic.

• Check the title.
• Read the summary/abstract.

Authority: The source of the information.

• Check the author/publisher/sponsor.
• Do a brief search on the author to determine if they are qualified to write on the topic.
• Check the domain to determine the origin of the site (ex: .gov, .edu, .com, etc.)

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of information.

• Is the information supported by evidence? Check for citations and bibliography.
• Determine if the publication is peer-reviewed.
• Look for spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors.

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

• Why was the information written: to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
• Determine if the information is fact, opinion, or propaganda.
• Check for political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases.
• Determine the intended audience.

Video: Website Evaluation

Video: Evaluating Web Sources