Evaluating Your Sources
All of these characteristics should be considered in evaluating any information source, whether it is a book; a magazine, newspaper or journal article; a government document; a Web page; or an individual. Experience makes this process easier.
Goal: Find information from knowledgeable sources.
Examples of authority
Goal: Find sources that specifically address your individual question.
Examples of relevance
Goal: Find information appropriate for the audience to be addressed.
Examples of audience
Goal: Find accurate, reliable information.
A difficult judgment to make for a new subject. Part of the process will involve comparing one information source on the topic to others.
Examples of accuracy
Goal: Find information current enough to answer your research question.
Old sources can be fine for an historical question, but not for current events.
Examples of currency
Goal: Find sources to address all sides of an issue. May require multiple sources representing differing viewpoints.
Examples of objectivity
- Wolfgram Memorial Library: Evaluate Web Pages by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate.
- Gurak, Laura J. Cyberliteracy: Navigating the internet with awareness.New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001.