How to Use This Guide
Here are some tips to help you evaluate various aspects of the information you find while doing your research.
For additional help, check in with the reference librarians on the 2nd Floor of the Doyle Library or the 1st Floor of the Mahoney Library
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Why Evaluate Information?
Locating information, whether in traditional print format or in electronic format, is only the first step in doing research. The next step is to evaluate the quality and the usefulness of what you find.
When you are evaluating political stories which you heard on the news, sources like FactCheck.org can sometimes help you sort out fact from fiction.
When using electronic documents found on the World Wide Web, the evaluation process is more important than ever since anyone who has an account on a computer linked to the Internet can put up a home page or a World Wide Web document. They don't have to be intelligent or knowledgeable, scholarly or authoritative, and in many cases, the "information" they put on these pages does not have to pass any kind of scrutiny or editing process by their Internet service provider.
Many institutional or organizational Web sites include statements about the type and source of information which is provided on their home pages, as well as the purpose of the organization itself. If this information is not offered, be especially careful about evaluating the data you find there.
When evaluating printed texts or electronic documents, consider the following criteria: