Critically evaluating information that you find to use for your assignments is essential for academic success. To judge if a source is worth using the following criteria can help:
- Is the information useful and does it support your work?
- Does it cover your topic in enough depth and scope? e.g. Geography i.e. Australian? International?
- Does it meet your needs? - i.e. is it peer-reviewed if you are required to use a peer-reviewed journal?
- Is it up-to-date? Does it need to be?
- When was it published, or last updated (webpage)?
- Who is the author? Are they known in their field? Are they associated with reputable organisations? e.g. a university or official body
- For a webpage:
- is the author noted or is the organisation well known? e.g. government agency?
- do the links work? Does the site look well maintained?
- Is there advertising alongside the information?
- Is the work fact, opinion, or propaganda?
- Is there disclosure of author affiliations, or funding for the research or study?
- Is it supported by reliable facts or statistics? References?
- Look at the URL for webpages. Is the site commercial (.com), government (.gov) or educational (.edu)?
- Does it contain extreme viewpoints? Is it biased?
- Does it contain emotive or derogatory language?