5 Keys to Information Evaluation
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
- When was the information published or posted?
- Are the links/URLs functional?
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
- Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
- Who is the intended audience?
Authority: The source of the information.
- Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor
- What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliation?
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
Purpose: The reason for the information to exist.
- Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
- Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Does Educational Mean Scholarly
Just because you find something on an .edu website doesn't mean that it is scholarly research from a credible scholar. Opinion and student-created content can be posted on .edu websites which are owned by educational institutions of all levels.
Evaluate all website content regardless of domain.
Check the Bibliography!
When you find a good, scholarly website with a bibliography of solid sources, follow the cited sources for additional information. Many university departments and academic libraries offer annotated bibliographies of scholarly websites in a particular field.