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Dependability Checklist

The Dependability Checklist can help you make decisions about the credibility of resources you want to use in your assessments.

The checklist contains ten questions to get you thinking critically about the resource in front of you. Once you have developed the skills, you won’t need to rely on the checklist.

Each question asks for your YES or NO response about a particular feature of your resource. More YES answers result in a higher dependability score. But remember evaluation is a critical thinking skill, not a formula! You may have a good reason to keep a source that has scored lower.

How to use the Checklist

  1. Locate and review a resource.
  2. Use the Dependability Checklist to answer all ten questions.
  3. At the bottom of the checklist is an overall dependability score. The higher the score, the more reliable the resource will be.
Information about the resource
Will the information provide evidence or support an idea in your assessment? Consider arguments you want to make in your assessment. Does this information support those?
Can you obtain the author’s affiliations? Are they affiliated with a university, company or government? If you can't obtain who the author is or what their affiliations are, it could be a red flag.
Does the author have the expertise to write about the topic? Are they a researcher or someone with extensive experience in the field?
Is the information supported by evidence? Is there an extensive reference list? Are the references linking to good quality sources?
Is the information from a peer reviewed journal? Check if it’s peer reviewed by going to the journal’s website or Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory.
Does the author present an unbiased perspective? Does the author provide a fair and balanced perspective of the topic? If it’s all one-sided, the information might be biased.
Does the publication date of the information match what you need? If you need current information, is it from the past 5 years? If you need historical information, is it a historical source?
Does the information come from an authorised source? Does it come from a Library database such as ProQuest Central, Taylor & Francis or ScienceDirect? Browse A-Z databases for more examples. Is it from an authorised website? Check the URL ( or
Is the information free from any commercial interests? What is the author getting out of this? If they are affiliated with a commercial company, there might be some conflicts of interest.
Is the information free from spelling, grammatical and formatting errors? Spelling, grammatical and formatting errors could suggest that the information has not been reviewed or edited.
Dependability score

This resource's dependability score is !

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