How to Evaluate Electronic Resources

Quality Varies!

During your research, you will encounter lots of information. The quality of this information will vary considerably. You can find very high-quality resources in the library, like many articles in scholarly journals. But you can also find very poor resources, like some personal and commercial websites.

Because of this variety, evaluation is essential. You need to find out if your resources are high-quality or low-rent. Although all information needs to be evaluated, pay special attention to the information you find on websites. Remember that anyone can publish on the Web!

Most people understand that information must be relevant to the topic and assignment. However, you should dig deeper when evaluating resources. We recommend that you use the AAOCC criteria.

Authority

  • Who are the authors? Are they qualified? Are they credible?
  • With whom are they affiliated? Does their affiliation affect their credibility?
  • Who is the publisher? What is their reputation?

Accuracy

  • Is the information accurate? Is it reliable and error-free?
  • Are the interpretations and implications reasonable?
  • Is there evidence to support conclusions? Is it verifiable?
  • Do the authors list their sources, references, or citations?

Objectivity

  • What is the purpose? What do the authors want to accomplish?
  • Does this purpose affect the presentation?
  • Is there an implicit or explicit bias?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?

Currency

  • Is the information current? Is it still valid?
  • Has it been superseded by subsequent research?

Coverage

  • Is the information relevant to your topic and assignment?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the material presented at an appropriate level?
  • Is the information complete? Is it unique?

Page owner: Lisa Ngo