Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information Sources

General Evaluation Critieria

Evaluation Tips for the Web


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, lynn.kanne@seattlecolleges.edu, Librarian, Seattle Central College

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

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