It is essential to critically evaluate the quality of information you locate, regardless of format or source. Apply consistent evaluation criteria in order to properly assess the value, authority and viewpoint of your search results. It is also important that you are able to determine the quantity of information you require. This will depend on the scope and purpose of your research and is usually determined as part of your search strategy.
||Issues to consider
- Can the author be identified?
- Do they have the experience and qualifications to write on the subject?
- Are they an expert in their field?
- What else have they written?
- Is the author affiliated with any organisations that may influence their opinion?
- Who is the publisher of the work and what is their reputation?
| Content & Coverage
- Is the intended audience scholarly or general?
- Is it a primary, secondary or tertiary source?
- Does the content match your information needs? Is it sufficiently detailed?
- Is there a reference list acknowledging sources consulted?
- What is the publication date?
- When was the article or book written?
- Do you need current or historical information?
- Are there later editions of books? Or for websites, what is the date the site was last updated?
- Is the information presented in a logical way?
- Is the information factual, or the opinion of the author?
- Are factual statements able to be verified?
- Has it been peer reviewed?
- Has the research methodology been explained, and is the method used valid?
- Does the author or publisher have a particular bias or agenda?
- Do you have your own cultural, social or political opinions that may affect your objectivity when evaluating information?
- Are you able to determine whether the information is fact or opinion?
- Does the style of writing bias the content?