Evaluating Resources

Why bother evaluating resources for a paper or other assignment? Well, have you ever heard the phrase "garbage in, garbage out"? Basically, we evaluate resources because in order for our work to be its very best we need the very best information to support our arguments, give foundation to our ideas and provide historical perspective to our discussions. Below are the key elements we want to look for in any resource we are considering using for an assignment.

  • Is this information RELEVANT to my topic?
  • Is the information RELIABLE?  Is the author RELIABLE?  What are the author's CREDENTIALS?
  • How VALID is the information?  What sources were used to present the facts?
  • Is the information OBJECTIVE or based on the author's bias?
  • How CURRENT is the information?  What time frame am I looking for?
  • Is a BIBLIOGRAPHY or works cited included?
  • What is the PURPOSE of this information?  Why has it been published?
  • Who is the intended AUDIENCE?