Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    Evaluating Information Sources

    General Evaluation Critieria

    Evaluation Tips for the Web

    #1: PURPOSE

    What is the author's goal? What is the purpose of the publication? To inform? To sell or advertise? To entertain?To persuade?

    • Look carefully for hints that reveal the site's purpose
    • Many sites are supported by advertising that might influence the content


    Who is the author and what are his or her qualifications? Who is the publisher?
    • It may be difficult to determine author's or publishers & their qualifications
    • Search for an author or organization's name in Proquest, a library catalog or on the Web
    #3: ACCURACY Is the information accurate? How does it compare with other information?
    • Almost anyone can publish on the Web and this work may not be verified by editors or fact checkers
    • Find statistics from a variety of sources to confirm data
    #4: OBJECTIVITY Is the information biased? Does it promote one perspective above others?
    • Goals/aims of persons or groups are often absent or unclear
    • Who is the intended audience? Watch for language or ads that attempt to persuade readers to a particular point of view
    #5: CURRENCY Is the information recent enough for your needs?
    • Dates are sometimes absent or misleading on the Web
    • Determine if the date indicates when web pages were created, revised or posted
    #6: COVERAGE Is the source complete enough for your needs? Is any information missing?
    • Often less in-depth than print or other media coverage
    • Web coverage may provide unique features not available elsewhere

    Table source credit: Lynn Kanne,, Librarian, Seattle Central College

    For other online references to evaluating information sources in general and on the web, see: