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CCCC Library: Evaluate a Resource

How-To Evaluate an Article

Look for...

  • currency
  • accuracy
  • coverage
  • objectivity 
  • authority 

Evaluating Information

When we obtain information for use in research, whether it is from the Internet, a magazine, a newspaper article, a journal, or any number of other sources, it is important that we look at the quality of the information. The following list of questions is a good place to start when trying to decide if your information is reputable, current and verifiable.

Currency

  •  Is the information current and up to date?
  •  When was the document produced? When was it last updated?
  •  If the page includes links, are they up to date?

Accuracy

  •  Who provides the information? Is the author of the source clearly stated?
  •  Does the author provide contact details (eg, an email address) that you can use to ask follow-up questions about the information?
  •  Does the author or publisher list their credentials and affiliations, and can they be verified?

Coverage

  •  Does the page require special software to view information? If so, are you missing some of the information?
  •  Is some information limited to fee-paying customers?
  •  Is the information presented cited correctly?

Objectivity

  •  What is the purpose of the page? Is it simply a marketing tool?
  •  Is there evidence of bias in the information?
  •  How detailed is the information?

Authority

  •  Does the URL indicate what type of organisation the information is coming from? What, if anything, does this tell you about the credibility of the information?
  •  Has the author provided any evidence or other sources to back up their information? Does the resource include sources or references you can check?
  •  Can the information be verified elsewhere?
  •  Is there evidence the information has undergone some peer review process?