Evaluating the information that you find is an important part of conducting research - especially sources you find on the open web. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at information:
- Who is the author or publisher of this information? What background, expertise, or credentials help to prove the quality and trustworthiness of the source?
- What type of publication does the information come from (i.e. book, journal, peer reviewed journal, magazine, website, etc.) and is it appropriate for the research?
- When was the information published? Is the information current enough for your topic?
- Where did the information in the publication come from? Are there references provided? Does it seem accurate or can it be checked elsewhere?
- Why was this information published? Is it is meant to inform or persuade? Is there bias or does the information seem to be as objective as possible?
- How will this information be helpful to your research? How is it relevant to your question or topic?
There are many different evaluation "tests" that can be used but the CRAAP Test from the California State University, Chico library provides a handy mnemonic and guide with questions to keep in mind while evaluating: