2 Information Needs to be Evaluated In academic research and in everyday life, you cannot always trust what you read. Information (both in print and online) can be misleading. The ability to evaluate information according to authority, accuracy, currency, and purpose or objective helps you to understand the content and select sources that are appropriate for your assignments. This tutorial is designed to enable you to better evaluate information sources.
3 Evaluation Criteria: Authority Is it clear who the author or publisher is? Is there information about the author’s qualifications?Authority__Accuracy__Coverage__Currency__Objectivity_Authority refers to possession of knowledge or experience in a specific field that qualifies a person to present information or opinion considered expert and reliable.
4 Evaluation Criteria: Accuracy Are the sources for factual information given so they can be verified? Do you see any blatant errors?Authority__Accuracy__Coverage__Currency__Objectivity_Information is accurate if it is free from mistakes or errors. Some indicators of probable accuracy are agreement with other sources focused on the same subject, inclusion of citations or references to the sources used to create the information, and reviewed by other subject matter experts.
5 Evaluation Criteria: Coverage Authority__Accuracy__Coverage__Currency__Objectivity_Does it provide an in-depth review of the topic or is it a superficial overview with broad, general statements?Coverage looks at how well a subject is covered. Is the article in depth or just a surface review? Both can be useful in different settings, so it is important to determine which you require for your assignment.
6 Evaluation Criteria: Currency Is the site up to date and current? Is there a copyright date? When was it last revised?Authority__Accuracy__Coverage__Currency__Objectivity_Information is current if it is accurate at the present time as opposed to some earlier time. The ability to analyze information according to this criterion is important for assignment or topic questions that require current information.
7 Evaluation Criteria: Objectivity Is the material factual, unbiased, and in depth? Do you detect any kind of “spin”?Authority__Accuracy__Coverage__Currency__Objectivity_Information that is accurate may be misleading if its author presents partial information related to the topic, opinions disguised as facts or information gleaned from a flawed research study. Objective information sources enable you to formulate your own conclusions about research topics and meet your professor’s assignment requirements. A work whose author strives to inform, rather than persuade, makes clear distinctions between fact and opinion, presents multiple perspectives, and is not paid by a commercial organization. These are more likely to be objective.
8 Evaluate Your Sources!Say, for example, that you are evaluating this article. You look at the article and notice that it has no graphs or data tables. Can you assume anything about its reliability from this alone? No you cannot.
9 Evaluate Your Sources!For this article, determine the authority. Who wrote the article or who published it? Is it a reliable publisher and does the author have the educational background needed to write about the subject?
10 Evaluate Your Sources!Is it accurate? Do you see citations and references where you can verify the information?
11 Evaluate Your Sources! And finally, is it current and objective? In this case, “Yes!” The article is definitely reliable and fits each of the criteria.
12 Evaluating Information You should now be able to evaluate the reliability and credibility of a source for better, and more effective research.Authority__Accuracy__Coverage__Currency__Objectivity_Now that you know how to evaluate a resource, you are ready to excel in your research. Just remember the criteria and you will be ready to go. And remember, if you ever have any questions about a source, your librarians are always ready to help.
13 Evaluating Information Activity Congratulations!Now that you have viewed the Evaluating Information tutorial, click on the button below to complete the Evaluating Information Activity.Evaluating Information ActivityIf you need help, please contact a reference librarian by either calling(580) or ing