EXERCISE: For the reference you found, answer the questions on this evaluation checklist. Beside the first question, these work for print as well as web resources.
- Authority: Can you identify the author or creator? What are the author's credentials (educational background, past writing, experience) in this area?
- Currency: Is the source current or out of date for your topic? Can you even find a date of publication or last update?
- Purpose: What is the purpose or motive for the publication/site? (e.g., educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional) Is it trying to sell you something?
- Bias: would you say the information is fact, opinion, or propaganda? In other words, what's the bias? Is the author's point of view objective and impartial?
- Accuracy of Details: Does the information appear to be valid and well-researched? Are sources listed in a bibliography or included in links to the documents themselves? Are the sources themselves authoritative?
Evaluating Credibility of a Web Resource--Video
Analyze and evaluate your search results. Have you found the most authoritative, accurate, objective, up-to-date, scholarly information available on your research topic?
- How to Critically Analyze Information Sources lists some of the critical questions you should ask when you consider the appropriateness of a particular book, article, media resource, or Web site for your research.
- Distinguishing Scholarly from Non-Scholarly Periodicals: A Checklist of Criteria shows how to evaluate periodicals by looking at their format, intended audience, and appearance.
See Evaluating Resources for additional information.