Things to Consider When Evaluating Information

by Barbara J. Feldman on June 6, 2008

There are many things to consider when evaluating information that you are reading. How you evaluate information will be different if you are reading material on the Internet or in print. No matter where you are getting information from, make sure to follow these tips when evaluating information to ensure you are getting data from a true and reliable source. Here are the things to consider when evaluating information.

It is important to think about what types of material you are looking for.

•Are you interested in finding facts that will support an argument, certain opinions, statistics, evaluating reports, descriptions of events, images, or different various reviews?
•Do you need current information or facts about an event that occurred many years ago?
•Are you sure the Internet is the best place you would like to start looking for this
information?
•Is the library a better place to start your research? A reference book in your library may have the information you need and you’ll find it more quickly. It may seem that the Web would contain all the information that you require but this is not always the case.

When you use a research or academic library, the books, journals and other resources have already been evaluated by scholars, publishers and librarians. Every resource you find has been evaluated in one way or another before you ever read it, which is very different than that of the Internet. Print publishing involves a series of editorial checks that tends to reduce the appearance of low-quality information. On the Internet, these checks exist to a lesser degree.

Here are other things to consider when evaluating information:

•Who is the author or institution?
•If the author is a person, does the resource give biographical information?
•If the author is an institution, is there information provided about it?
•Have you seen the author’s or institution’s name cited in other sources or bibliographies?
•Are facts or statistics backed up by citations or a bibliography?
•Is there someone, besides the author, who verifies the information?
•Is the author identified? Are their qualifications listed?
•Does the information have a sponsor that is reputable?
•Does the article provide information about the author or the sponsor?

What to look for:

•Is the information reliable?
•Is the information biased or is the author presenting more than one side of the argument?
•Is the page designed to sway different opinions?
•Is the purpose of the page clearly identified?

Other things to consider:

•Are dates provided for the information stated?
•When the information was written?
•Is the information on the page outdated?
•When the page was last modified or updated?
•What topics are covered?
•How in-depth does the information go?
•Does the page offer information that is not found anywhere else?

Make sure when looking at information on the Internet that you evaluate it and make sure it is viable information. Following these evaluating information tips is a great way to ensure you are getting truthful and valuable information. There is a lot of dishonest people and information out there, so make sure you do your homework before taking anyone’s word. Luckily, printed material has already been evaluated and proof read before the reader even sees the information. For the most part, printed material is a great source for reliable information. Take time to evaluate everything you read and make sure it is true and is written by a reputable organization or an educated expert.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Things to Consider When Evaluating Information." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 6 Jun. 2008. Web. 20 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1406/things-to-consider-when-evaluating-information/ >.