This is the "Evaluate It" page of the "Student Guide to Research & Writing" guide.
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Tools and information to find, evaluate and use research materials to support foundational skills in research and writing
Last Updated: Dec 12, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Evaluate It Print Page


Photo by dkscully

Photo by dkscully

Learn how to evaluate the quality of information in print or online with a focus on information suitable for academic audiences.




The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of-date?
  • Is currency necessary for your research?
  • Are the links functional?


The importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level?
  • Does the information help answer your research question?
  • Is the information popular or scholarly?


The credibility of the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponser?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information?
  • Does the author provide citations? Are they reputable?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?


The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the information

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been peer-reviewed?
  • Can you verify the information in another source?
  • Does the tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?


The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? sell? teach? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsers make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Posted with permission from Merium Library, California State U PDF (author) and Okanagan College Library (for LibGuide table) 


Research Minutes: How to Identify Scholarly Journal Articles [2min]

Posted with permission from: Olin Library Reference, Research & Learning Services, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA

More About Web Content Evaluation

  • Evaluating Web Sites
    "This page provides guidelines that may be used to determine the quality and accuracy of the information found on the World Wide Web."
  • Evaluating Website Content
    "The Internet is a relatively new and untested information and communication medium.
    As such, we need to evaluate, expand, and adapt existing criteria for evaluating content, as well as develop new techniques."

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