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CMNS 113 Technical Communication for Information Technology

Evaluating The Information You Discover

Click on the image below to learn more about evaluating information sources


Evaluating Information Sources


  • Is the document directly related to your research topic?
  • Is the information at correct level for your assignment?


  • Is the information from a scholarly peer-reviewed source?
  • Who is the author(s)? 
  • Is the author a recognized authority in this field?
  • What are author's credentials?
  • Is this author cited by other researchers in this area?
  • What is the authors affiliation?
  • Is contact information for the author provided?
  • Who is the publisher and are they know for publishing information on the subject?


  • Date of publication?
  • Is information current and up-to-date?


  • Is the the research methodology employed by the author provided?
  • Is it a sound search methodology employed by other research in the field?
  • Does the author include a literature review?
  • Is there a reference list of cited works?


  • Does the author provide a clearly reasoned argument supported by identifiable logic, facts and data?
  • Does the author consider alternate interpretations of the evidence?


  • Does the author appear to have any identifiable bias?
  • Has the author omitted and relevant information or data that other people writing on the subject have included?
  • Is the author affiliated with a group, business or organization that is selling something?
  • Where did the author's research funding come from?

Citations & Reference List

  • Has the author included citations to the information that they have used to create their article?
  • Does the author provide a Reference List for the citations used in the article?

Evaluating Information You Find on The Web

The public Internet (the Web) holds vast quantities of information, data, and statistics. Not all of it is true, reliable, or suitable to be used in an academic research paper or project. You will need to develop skills to evaluate information sources both off- and on-line.

It is a good idea to start with Internet resources that are accessible through the Library website. These resources have been selected for academic quality. Non-scholarly resources are also available through the library and these may be filtered out of search results.

Evaluating Information Sources

  1. Relevance
  2. Authority
  3. Timeliness/Currency
  4. Validity/Accuracy
  5. Argument
  6. Bias/Objectivity
  7. Citations & Reference List

How widely read is the information?

Basic Citation Analysis

1) Enter the full title of the article in OCtopus or a Database such as Academic Search to see if other authors are citing the article.  Check for "Cited By" information in the database you discovered it in.  This information is typically found on the metadata record that breifly describes the article. 

2) Search the Author.  If they are an expert in the field you should see a publication record of similar articles.

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