Criteria for Evaluating Sources
Evaluating resources is a crucial step in the research process. Whether in print or in electronic form, resources should be scrutinized and evaluated using a standard set of criteria such as the ones listed below.
What topics are included in the work?
Are the topics included explored in depth?
Is it well written, organized logically, main points clearly presented?
Are there references, appendices, or bibliography?
What are the author's credentials - educational background, past writing or affiliations?
Have the authors been cited by other writers?
How reputable is the publisher?
Is the publication date clearly labeled?
Is the content of the work up-to-date for the specific topic?
Is the work a second or later edition indicating revision and updating of the contents?
Audience and Purpose
Is the work written for a particular audience - adult, juvenile, scholar, professional?
If the publication is a journal, is it scholarly or popular (indicating level of complexity)?
What is the work's purpose? To entertain? To inform? To persuade? Unclear?
How reliable and free from error is the information?
Are there editors and fact checkers?
Is the information well-researched with supporting references?
Is the information presented factual (verifiable) with a minimum of bias?
To what extent is the information trying to sway the opinion of the audience?