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Tips for Evaluating Information (Print, Online, or Other Media)

Authority

  • Who is the author of this resource, and what are his or her credentials (occupation, position, and education)?

  • Do you find evidence from other references that the author is well known in the field of your search? Do other books, articles, or authors cite the author?

  • For online resources does the resource contain the author’s contact information (address, telephone number, e-mail address)?

Purpose
  • Is the author’s purpose to sell, persuade, entertain, or inform?

  • Does the author omit important facts or data that might disprove the author’s claim?

  • For online resources is there a Statement of Purpose, and is the audience identified?

Relevance
  • Does the information answer your research question?

  • Is the content or the language of the resource too simple, or too technical with a lot of professional jargon?

  • Does the information offered by this resource add something new to the information you already have?

Accuracy
  • Does the author cite other sources that support the author’s claims?

  • Is it possible to verify the information presented in the site?

  • Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?

  • Is the text free from any typing, spelling, and grammatical errors?

  • For online resources do links lead to the documents mentioned, and are these sources relevant and appropriate?

Timeliness
  • When was the information published, revised, or last updated? Have newer editions, articles, or other related information been published?
  • What period is covered by the information and does it require current information or historical resources? Is your topic in a field that changed rapidly like technology or popular culture?
  • For online resources is the site's content, including links, current and up-to-date?
Point of View/Bias
  • Is the point of view of the author/organization clearly stated?

  • Can you determine the point of view of the author/organization from the content of the resource?

  • Are alternate points of view presented?

  • Is the information the author’s opinion or supported by facts? Does it have an obvious bias or prejudice?

Organization
  • With what prominent organization, association, educational institution, or sponsor is this page's author affiliated?

  • Is this organization well known in the field of your search?

  • For online resources does the name of the organization appear in the URL? How does the URL end (.gov, .org, .net, .edu, .com)?

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