Is the information narrow or very specific in scope?

All types of information can be evaluated using these criteria.
As a University student, ask yourself this:

AUTHORITY: Is the author qualified to write on this topic? What
are his/her credentials? Does he /she indicate an affiliation with any organization?

Special considerations about the Web:
• Sites often do not list an author or organization responsible for its content.
• If the author IS listed, his/her qualifications may not be listed.
• .edu or .org in the URL does not always signify responsibility over the author
• Search engines can pull up hits in a random order with good sites mixed in with bad ones.

OBJECTIVITY: Is the author trying to sway opinion? Does the information have a strong bias? Who is ultimately responsible for the material? Do they have an “agenda”? To be objective is to NOT have an agenda or bias. It means to provide multiple points of view.

Special considerations about the Web:
• The aim of the group/person is often unclear or vaguely stated.
• Sites are often advertisements cleverly presented as fact

ACCURACY: Is there an editor? Is the text free from errors? Does it say where the facts and statistics were obtained? Does it have a bibliography?

Special considerations about the Web:
• Anyone can publish whatever he/she likes on the web.
• Web pages move around
• Third parties can change web sites, accidentally or by malice
• There is no standard verification by respected editors

CURRENCY: Is the information up-to-date? Current information is especially important in the fields of medicine, technology, and science. What is the date of publication? Is the date easily found? Are the cited sources in the bibliography (if there is one) all old?

Special considerations about the Web:
• Dates are not always listed on Web pages.
• When there is a date, it could mean the date the information was put on the Web, the date the information was changed or modified, or the date the information was originally written.

COVERAGE: Is the information general? Is the information narrow or very specific in scope? Are the topics explored in depth? Is there a wide range of topics presented?

Special considerations about the Web:
• The Web version may be different than the print version
• Web pages may provide links to other Web pages that provide more information

The reliability of your sources is important in university research as well as on-the-job. Evaluate the information you find.

Writing Effective Search Statements (1)

WEB SOURCE WORKSHEET

CriteriaForEvaluatingInformation

7th edition APA style for web sites

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