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BIO 140: Environmental Biology: Evaluating Information

This guide supports our BIO 140 courses. You can find links to excellent resources here.

Critical Evaluation

When using information for research you must use good critical thinking skills to evaluate it!

There is a huge range of quality in web resources.  In order to determine if particular information or a website would be worthwhile to use in your research, consider the criteria in the box to the right.

 

Evaluating Sources for Credibility Video

This excellent 3 minute video from NC State University Libraries explains what credible sources are, why it's important to use them, and how to determine if sources are credible. Click the box in the left bottom corner to make it appear full screen.

Website Evaluation Worksheet

Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

Use the criteria below to review the website you are evaluating. A high quality source with good information will enable you to answer MOST of the questions in each box with a "YES."

Accuracy –Content is grammatically correct, verifiable and cited when necessary: Is the content grammatically correct?; Is the information accurate and verifiable?; Are sources and references cited?; Does the tone and style imply accuracy? Author – Defines  who created the content,  the individual or group's credentials/expertise and provides contact information: Do you know who published the source?;  Is the author's name easily visible?; What are the author's credentials and are they appropriate for the information provided?; Can you find contact information?; Is the source produced by a reputable organization? Currency – Information is current and updated frequently: Do you know when the information was originally published and is the date acceptable?; Do you know when the information was last updated and is the date acceptable?; Are web  links current and reliable?; Do charts and graphs have dates? Fairness– Content is balanced, presenting all sides of an issue and multiple points-of-view: Are various points-of-view presented?; Is the source free of bias towards one point-of-view?; Is the objectivity of the source consistent with its purpose?; Is the source free of advertising? Relevance – Content is relevant to your topic or research: Does the purpose of the source (e.g. research, statistical, organizational) meet your needs?; Who is the intended audience? Will information directed to this audience meet your needs?; Is the information relevant to your research topic?