Evaluation of sources

Evaluating the sources means to ascertain the authenticity of the information provider and the reliability of the information provided.

There is no strict method for appraisal of a source, it is more of a matter of a total assessment. However, there are manuals you can use to make your own judgement on the reliability of sources. Below are some questions you can ask when you are evaluating the quality of a source.

Authority

  • Is there an acknowledged authority, organization or expert behind the information?
  • Is the author an authority on the subject?
  • Can you by the address (URL) determine who is providing the information?
  • Is there an e-mail address to the author or organization behind, or are there any other contact options?
  • Why has the author/publisher published this on the Internet?

Content

  • Is the information described with or without bias? Does the information contain facts or does it reflect the author's own views?
  • Is it unique or is it possible to find similar or even better information elsewhere?
  • Check the publishing date for the information. When was the information on the web page updated?

Extent of Information

  • Are all aspects of the subject covered, i.e. the extent of the information.
  • In what detail is the subject described, i.e. the depth of the information.
  • Is the information limited to certain periods of time?

Reliability

  • Is it possible to compare with other sources within the same subject area?
  • Are the sources unanimous or do they differ?
  • Is there a reference list or a bibliography? Search for the original source or check the material thoroughly.

Target Group

  • To whom is the information targeted?
  • Is it really suitable for the work you are doing?

User-friendliness

  • Is the information well structured?
  • Is there a register to the content?
  • Are there images on the page? Do the images help in communicating the content?
  • Is the text easy to see and read?

If you cannot find the information you need to write a complete refererence to the source - seriously consider selecting another source.

This page was updated 2016-02-12