Evaluating information

You've found resources, but how do you know whether they're reliable and accurate?  Here is a brief overview of how to evaluate and assess information.

What to look for when evaluating online sources:

Author

  • Can you identify who the author is?
  • What authority does the author have?
  • Do they have affiliations, credentials or a specific reason for publishing the information?

Type of Information

  • Look at the URL or address. Where did the document originate?
  • Is the information scholarly, governmental, from a private business or association, or an advertisement?
  • Do other reputable Internet sites point to this one?

Purpose

  • Is the author making an argument for personal gain, offering an opinion, giving a factual report or relaying a personal observation?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Sources

  • Is the information from original research, experiments, observation, interviews, books or documents?
  • Are references provided?

Timeliness

  • How old is the information?
  • Has the content been updated recently?

If you can't find the answer to these questions, that may be reason enough not to use a particular website or resource.

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