GEOL 106

Assess your Information Sources

ABCs of Evaluating Information

It was easy to find, but is it the right info? Be sure to evaluate your sources!

Authority
  • Author: Who wrote the information? Is it signed by an author? What is the person's expertise? Academic? Firsthand?
  • Publisher: Who published the information? If it is a website, is contact and organization information available? What can you learn from the domain? Educational: .edu | commercial: .com | Nonprofit: .org | governmental: .gov
  • Citations: Is the work researched and are the ideas, facts, and research-supported with citations?

Appropriateness
  • Relevance: Is the information relevant to your topic? What is the central point or thesis?
  • Focus: How does the thesis support, develop, or refute your topic? How does it work with your other sources?
  • Appropriateness: Is this information source appropriate for college academic work?
Bias
  • Purpose: what is the purpose of the information? Is it to entertain? In form? Advertise? Persuade?
  • Audience: who is the intended audience for the information?
  • Evidence: is the information supported by other information in the field? If a website, does it link to other credible sources of this information?
  • Balance: Is the information balanced? Does it promote a particular perspective or agenda?
Currency
  • Date: Is the information up-to-date? Is it current enough for your purposes?
  • Updates: If a website, is the date of publication available? Is the webpage updated regularly?
  • Links: If a website, are the links to other information current do the links work?

You can download a copy of this checklist. Use it to critically assess information in your academic work and in your life.