Use the criteria below to help you evaluate a source. As you do, remember:
Each criterion should be considered in the context of your topic or information need. For example, currency changes if you are working on a current event vs. a historical topic.
Weigh all four criteria when making your decision. For example, the information may appear accurate, but if the authority is suspect you may want to find a more authoritative site for your information.
When in doubt about a source, talk about it with your professor or a librarian.
Criteria to consider:
Currency: When was the information published or last updated? Is it current enough for your topic?
Relevance: Is this the type of information you need (ex. a research study or scholarly article)? Is it related to your topic? Is it detailed enough to help you answer questions on your topic?
Authority: Who is the author or creator of the information (can be an individual or an organization)? Are they an expert on your topic? Has the source been peer reviewed? Who is the publisher? Are they reputable?
Accuracy: Is the information true? What information does the author cite or refer to? Is this a research study with methods you can follow? Can you find this information anywhere else? Can you find evidence to back it up from another resource? Are studies mentioned but not cited (this would be something to check on)? Can you locate those studies?
Purpose/perspective: What is the purpose of the information? Was it written to sell something or to convince you of something? Is this fact or opinion based? Is it unfairly biased?
Webpage Evaluation Activity
Activity example: Choose several webpages, break students into groups and have them answer a questionnaire about the webpages. Discuss findings. Here is an example you are welcome to adapt, Google forms work well for the questions too. Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 All of these articles were found via Google using a keyword combination always including 'schizophrenia' and including either 'marijuana', 'weed', or 'cannabis'
Activity example: Choose several viewpoints, break students into groups, have them use the questionnaire answers as a class discussion. Use the attached worksheet or create a Google Form. Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4