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Senior Seminar in Biology and Health Sciences

Evaluating resources

It is important to evaluate everything you read. Critical thinking is key to success in school as well as in life. This page will cover some basics of evaluating resources, especially information located on the web.

Five criteria for evaluating resources

Below are five items to consider when evaluating resources:

1.  Accuracy

   a.  Does the document have references / footnotes / bibliography?

   b.  Can you verify the information with another source?

   c.  If it is original research, is the methodology of the research clearly explained?

2.  Authority

   a.  Who is the author?

   b.  By what authority does he / she speak?

   c.  Who is the publisher of the material?

3.  Objectivity / Point of view

   a.  Does the document have bias?

   b.  Is the information presented balanced?

   c.  What is the purpose of the document?  (Inform) (Persuade) (Prove something)

      (Sell something)

4.  Currency / Timeliness

   a.  When was the information gathered?

   b.  What dates are covered by the data presented?

   c.  When was the information last updated?

5.  Completeness / Scope / Level of coverage

   a.  What depth do you need the topic covered?

   b.  Does the author display a breadth of knowledge on the subject?