An important component of research is knowing how to evaluate the resources you've found. The aim of this guide is to give you the tools to determine if your resources are the right ones for your research. With every type of resource you use, whether it be a search engine, book, article or website, there are five main criteria to keep in mind:
Who is the author and/or publisher?
How reliable is the information provided?
What is the purpose of the resource?
How up-to-date is the resource?
Does the resource contain information relevant to your topic?
The internet contains a vast amount of information, but because anyone and everyone can contribute to it, it's important to think critically about the information you find online.
Who is the author of the page?
Can anyone add content to the page? (eg. wikis)
What institution or organization hosts the page?
Do the author and/or page host provide contact information? What is their reputation?
How accurate are the information and links on the page?
Do the links lead to pages relevant to the topic? Do they work?
What is the purpose of the page: to persuade, argue, inform or to sell a product?
How current is the information on the page?
Does the page contain information on when it was created and/or last updated?
Are the links up to date?
How does the information on the website compare to information available from other sources, such as books and periodicals?
Does the page provide information not readily available elsewhere?
How valuable is the information on the page?
Who is the intended audience?