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The College of New Rochelle 

Mother Irene Gill Memorial Library
 

Evaluating Resources

 

Ana E. Fontoura, Gill Library, College of New Rochelle, August 2006

 

As you do your research, you will find many kinds of resources in different formats – books, articles and Web sites for example.  Keep in mind that NOT ALL INFORMATION YOU FIND ON YOUR TOPIC IS APPROPRIATE for college-level research assignments.  Before you decide to use a source remember to consider the following:

 

 

          Points to Remember

          How do I interpret it?

ACCURACY

  • Who wrote it and can you contact him/her?
  • What is the purpose of the information and why was it produced?
  • Is the information written by someone qualified?
  • Is there a broad overview of the topic, or a focus on a specific area?

ACCURACY

  • Check to see if there is contact information for the author
  • Know the difference between author, editor, publisher and webmaster
  • A general overview of a topic doesn’t mean the author is an expert.

AUTHORITY

  • Who published the document?
  • Is the publisher a trustworthy or reputable?
  • If the information is from a Web site, what is the domain?
  • What are the author’s credentials?

AUTHORITY

  • Is the author an expert in the field?
  • Where is the document published? Academic publishers usually have high standards for publishing.  Commercial presses may be less trustworthy.

OBJECTIVITY

  • What are the goals and objectives of the author? 
  • Are the author’s opinions objective or partial?
  • Is all the information available or does the author present only that which supports his/her point of view?
  • If the information is from a Web site, are there links to other sites with different points of view?

OBJECTIVITY

  • Does the information sound like an advertisement?
  • Does the author use words that evoke emotions or prejudiced views?  What is his/her writing style?
  • Was the information written for a specific target audience?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?

CURRENCY

  • Is there more current information available in other sources?
  • Can you find similar information in the same time period?
  • If the information is from a Web site, when was the last time it was updated?  Are there “dead” links?

CURRENCY

  • There are fields of study that require very current information (sciences), but there are other areas where it may not be so important (history, philosophy)
  • Is the information dated?

 

COVERAGE

  • Is the information complete?
  • Does the author provide references or links to further information?
  • If the information is from a Web site, is it easy to navigate the information?

COVERAGE

  • Have other experts in the field reviewed the information? 
  • Is the information a primary or a secondary source?
  • Does the information add, update or validate other information you have read on the topic?