Evaluating Resouces

Uploaded by BelkLib on 10.05.2012

Evaluating Resources: in this module you will learn the criteria necessary to
evaluate information resources effectively.
The amount of information resources available can be overwhelming.
Reviewing information based on the criteria of
bias, and credibility will help you identify the best resources for your
or project.
The first criteria is authority:
who is the author and what are his or her qualifications to write about the subject at
In the case of traditionally published sources like books or journal articles,
the issue of authority is relatively easy to deal with
because of the vetting process that happens during publishing:
authorship is often stated along with qualifications and affiliations.
Determining authority on a website can be more challenging.
When using web resources, if the site is educational or a government site, such as
the CDC pictured here,
you may not find a personal name listed and will need to evaluate the organization
as a whole
for authority.
Websites ending in '.gov' or '.edu' are generally more authoritative than those
ending in a '.com' or '.org'
but not always.
The next criteria is timeliness or currency of the information.
When you're writing on a current topic, you will want the latest information and
For other topics, historical information may be more appropriate
currency in printed works is relatively easy to check by looking at the copyright or
publication dates.
This is a screenshot of the library catalog and publication dates are easy to see.
The third criteria is bias or point of view.
Whether you're looking at traditionally published information sources or web
resources, it's difficult to find a totally unbiased source.
Some of the types of bias to watch out for in both print and web resources are
marketing and advocacy.
It helps to think about the purpose of the publication:
is it to persuade, to sell?
When approaching a current issue or controversial topic,
a good place to start your research is a library database like
CQ Researcher or Points of View.
These databases present both sides of major issues and have been vetted.
The fourth criteria is accuracy and credibility.
This site is about a supplement.
Lower on the page it says,
'Studies have found,'
but there's no citation or link to the studies.
Also there's advertising on the page,
so if there were a link to the study one would wonder
who funded it.
Funding can create credibility issues if there's a conflict of interest.
This article from the library database Academic Search Complete
provides an international review of a number of studies on childhood obesity.
The article clearly describes the methodology of how the studies were
and at the end it provides citations to each of the studies
in the event the reader would want to examine primary data.
In summary, you now have criteria
to base your evaluation of an information resource.
The first is authority: is it clear who is responsible for the information?
The second is currency: if it is a time sensitive issue, are the resources recent?
ask yourself, 'What is the purpose of this resource?'
Is it to sell,
to abdicate for a cause,
or to present information with as little bias as possible and air differing,
legitimate points of view?
The final criteria is accuracy and credibility:
are the claims and the source accurate?
If there's a study or statistics mentioned, are they cited to a reputable
Using these criteria will help you identify the best resources for your
paper or project.