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Evaluating Information Sources
ABC's of Evaluating Information Sources
(websites, journal articles, books, etc.)
To whom is the source directed – children, adults, students; a certain ethnicity, gender or political affiliation?
Is it understandable by the layperson, or is it highly technical requiring specialized knowledge?
Is the author of the source listed?
Can you determine his/her expertise or credentials?
Is contact information given – phone number, address, e-mail?
With what organization is he/she associated?
Does the language, tone, or treatment of its subject give the source a particular slant or bias?
Is the source objective?
Is it designed to sway opinion, sell you something, or simply make an argument? Organizational, institutional, or corporate affiliation can often be a good gauge of bias.
Is the source up-to-date? If it's a site, does it have working links?
Is a date given for when it was created and, in the case of online sources, last updated?
Is the topic current?
Is the source an in-depth study of the topic going several pages deep, or is it a superficial, single-page look at the subject?
Are statistics and sources properly cited and referenced?
In the case of websites, does it offer unique information not found anywhere else, e.g., print sources or peer-reviewed journal publications?
Evaluating a Website
Help pages are available for any search engine or directory that you use - take the time to look at them, it will save you time and frustration!
How to Evaluate a Website
Examples of good websites:
Examples of bad websites:
By using common sense and the criteria listed in the sites provided above, you should easily avoid the bad, bogus, false and misleading information that lurks on the web and elsewhere!
Eugene McDermott Library
800 West Campbell Rd.
Richardson, TX 75080
All images used in McDermott Library Research Guides are sourced from CC0, no attribution licenses unless otherwise cited.