Evaluating Sources: How Do you Know If It's Good Information?
Ask the following questions to find out if a resource is appropriate for your need:
|Who?||Who created this information - is it a member of the general public or an expert in the field?
Author/sponsor's name clearly given with qualifications and contact information?
For web, what is the URL - .edu, .org, .ca, .com, .biz, etc.?
|What?||What kind of information is given - how relevant is it to your topic?
What is the scope of the coverage - is it a brief overview or does it cover a topic in-depth?
Is it narrowly focused or broader?
Is there a print equivalent to Web site that might provide more accurate or even more current information?
|When?||When was the information produced and/or updated?
Is it historical or current and is that important to your research?
Are the dates clearly indicated or easy to find?
|Where?||Where does the information contained in the site come from?
Are sources cited correctly? Can you verify the information given on the site elsewhere?
|Why?||Why was this information created?
Is it intended as a public service or is it an advertisement?
Is the information intended to sway public opinion or merely to inform?
Might the author/sponsor of the site have a bias?
For web pages, if advertising is present, is it separate from informational content or does it influence the content?