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System Status Home / Drake Memorial Library / Tutorial / Evaluating Information
Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014
7:45am - 1:30am

Evaluating Information

Before a book reaches the library's reference collection or an article is published in a scholarly journal, the content goes through a lengthy editorial/review process. This is not always so with information found on the web. Use the Quick Checklist below to evaluate information you find on the internet.

Quick Checklist

The greater number of questions that can be answered with a YES, the more likely the site has reliable/accurate content.

Authority

  • Is it clear what person, organization, or institution is sponsoring the site?
  • Are the credentials or qualifications of the individual or organization provided?
  • Is contact information given - including name, email, phone number and address?
  • Can you verify the legitimacy of the sponsor through printed sources?

Objectivity

  • Does the author give his or her purpose for providing the information?
  • Does the author have an agenda or bias? (This may be subtle.)
  • Does the site blend information with advertising?
  • Are editorials or opinion pieces labeled as such?

Accuracy

  • Is the intended audience stated?
  • Can factual content be verified from another source? Are citations given?
  • Does the text follow standard rules of grammar and spelling?

Currency

  • Is there a date of publication or revision? Is it current?
  • Are links up-to-date?

Coverage

  • Is it clear what topics the page plans to address?
  • Does the page succeed at addressing these topics?
  • Has important information been left out?

Domain Clues

The Domain name within the website's Uniform Resource Locator (URL) can provide clues to the reliability or possible bias of a website. The URL can be found in the "Address" bar in your browser. The most commonly used domains are:

Type
Advocacy
Business/Marketing
News
Informational
Purpose
influence pubic opinion,sell ideas
sell or promote products
provide extremely current information
present factual information
Domain (often)
.org
.com
.com
.edu or .gov

For an in-depth look at evaluating internet sources, see: Alexander, Jan and Marsha Tate. Evaluating Web Resources. Available online: http://www3.widener.edu/Academics/Libraries/Wolfgram_Memorial_Library/Evaluate_Web_Pages/659/

The Desire Project. The Internet Detective an interactive tutorial on evaluating the quality of Internet resources. Available online: http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/detective/brief.html

Last Updated 08/08

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Last Updated 07/18/2013