Before using any piece of information as a source, it should be evaluated critically. Suggested criteria are listed below.
¨ Is the author clearly identified? Are the credentials of the author provided? Is the author qualified to write on the subject?
¨ Is the publisher or sponsoring organization clearly identified? What do the web host and URL indicate (.edu, .org, .gov, .com)?
¨ Is the publisher or sponsoring organization well-known or respected in the field?
¨ Is the article peer reviewed or refereed? This means that it is carefully reviewed for its accuracy and value by a committee of scholars who are experts in the field.
¨ Does the journal use a peer review or referee process for selecting articles?
¨ Is contact information for the publisher or sponsoring organization readily available?
¨ Are there factual errors?
¨ Are sources for factual information listed clearly so that they can be verified?
¨ Are links to supporting external sources provided?
¨ Is opinion clearly distinguished from factual information?
¨ Why did the author write this? Does the author have a vested interest in the issue?
¨ What is the mission of the publisher or sponsoring organization?
¨ Is there advertising present that is related to the information?
¨ Is the date of publication clearly indicated?
¨ Is the date of publication appropriate for your research needs?
¨ Is this the most current information available?
¨ Is the topic covered comprehensively?
¨ Are there aspects of the topic or opposing opinions which are omitted?
¨ Are there additional sources that you should examine to cover the topic more broadly or deeply?