CHECKLIST FOR EVALUATING INFORMATION
IDENTIFYING YOUR INFORMATION NEED
- What do you already know about your subject?
- What are your preconceived ideas or biases?
- Do you want general or specialized information?
- What is the central focus of your information need?
- How much information do you require?
- What types of information do you want?
EVALUATING THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION
- How did you discover the source – an index? bibliography? reference work? web search engine?
- What type of source is it – scholarly? general? commercial?
- What are the author’s or producer’s qualifications on this topic? – education? experience? occupation? position? affiliation?
- When was the information published?
- Where was the information published?
- What is the publisher’s reputation and/or type – university press? alternative press or website? commercial press or website? private organization?
- Was the material reviewed or edited for publication?
- Does the source show political or cultural biases?
- Is a bibliography or other form of documentation included?
- Is it organized so you can easily access the information you require?
DETERMINING THE SUITABILITY OF THE SOURCE
- What is the scope and purpose of the work?
- Who is the audience for the work – general public? students? experts?
- Is the information presented clearly and objectively?
- Is the work suitable for your level of understanding of the subject?
- Does it have the features you need – graphs? tables? charts?
- Does it contain the information you need?
– from Evaluating Information: A Basic Checklist (1994) by the American Library Association.