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Evaluating Resources

The timeliness of information

  • When was the information produced?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is your topic time sensitive? Does it require current, up to date information?

The importance of information for your needs

  • How does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level; not too advanced or too basic?
  • Have you looked at a variety of resources before deciding what you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in a paper?

The source of information

  • Who is the author/sponsor/organization responsible for producing the information?
  • Are the author's credentials and affiliations provided?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is contact information for the author and/or publisher provided?

The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Is the information peer reviewed or refereed? (See: Scholarly Journals under Types of Articles)
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Is the information verifiable in another source?
  • Is the language/tone unbiased?
  • Are there spelling or grammar errors?

The reason the information exists

  • What is the information's purpose? Is it to inform, entertain, sell, or persuade?
  • Are the intentions of the author made clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propoganda?
  • Is the point of view impartial and objective?

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