When you are evaluating information, it is always hard to know if you have the right information and if it is coming from a reliable source. The ten “C’s” of information evaluation can help you check your information before you publish or submit any research you may have done.
The ten “C’s” of information evaluation are:
In order to gain a better understanding of the ten “C’s” of information evaluation, we will look at each one individually.
Content — What is the content of information you are evaluating? Check to see if the title and the author are clearly identified and if there is a biography of the author. Does the content seem bias? It is also particularly important to check for the date the document or article was published, you want to make sure you have the most up-to-date version.
Credibility — Again, check to see if the author is clearly identifiable and if they have a biography. Check the URL address to make sure the information is credible. Here are the definitions of URL addresses:
.edu — This indicates the information you are reading is from a higher education college or university.
.org — This identifies a non-profit organization.
.gov — This indicates that the information is coming from a government agency or organization.
.int — This information will be from an intergovernmental organization such as “NATO”.
.com — Of course this is the most widely used of all the URLs. A .com address indicates the information is coming from a commercial organization.
.mil — This information will be coming from a military organization.
.net — Network providers such as Verizon Wireless use .net addresses.
.info — This indicates the web site is a general information site.
Critical Thinking — What criteria have you used in the past to evaluate sources? Do you prefer to only use web sites with .edu or .gov? Will you only site books that were published after a certain date? Use your critical thinking skills to come up with ways you can evaluate your sources.
Copyright — Always look for a copyright. This may be hard to find on some documents as they put it at the very end or they don’t use the copyright symbol. No matter what, protect yourself by citing your sources and giving credit where credit is due.
Citation — This goes along with the copyright. The sources should be cited to give credit to the author and the publisher.
Continuity — How often is the information updated? If you are using an Internet site, is the information updated on a daily basis? You need to be able to rely on your sources to provide up-to-date information.
Censorship — If you are using the Internet, you need to consider censorship issues. Many colleges and universities censor the information their students can browse for. This is due in part to mission statements and policies of educational institutions.
Connectivity — This applies to how well you can access a web site. Many web sites will have specified times for maintenance, check to see if the site you need will be accessible when you need it. Another thing to consider is if the web site is viewable in different web browsers and if it uses the same applications and tools.
Comparability — Many information sources have a print or CD-ROM version of the information they are presenting. Check to see if you can obtain a copy of the information. This will help if you need to compare data to come up with statistics.
Context — Check for the context of your research on several web sites. You want to gain information about anything on your topic.
Before you begin using the ten “C’s” of information evaluation, you may want to sit down and make a list of everything your research entails including your needs, sources, and then you can successfully evaluate your information.