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Research: Evaluate


The information on this guide has been copied and/or modified from  Melbourne University Beginning Research libguides.

Quick Tips

  • Refine your searches to get the best possible results
  • Always think about the evaluation criteria - is the information you are using relevant, current, authoritative and reliable?
  • Consider how authoritative your sources are
  • Think about the credibility of the web pages; are they suitable for scholarly purposes?
  • Be critical in your use of websites, particularly Wikipedia.

The Quality Information Checklist

Evaluating Webpages

Here are some quick tips to help you to evaluation the relevance and the quality of websites. 
If in doubt don't use it! 

Author Checklist
Are they known as 'experts' in the field? Are they associated with an institution or organisation in a relevant field? Do they list their qualifications? Do they provide contact details?

Coverage Checklist

 Does this site address the topic you are researching? Is the information basic and cursory or detailed and scholarly? Is the information substantial? Was the page worth visiting? Does the site offer anything informative, unique, or insightful? 

Currency Checklist
When was the page produced and how recently was it updated. Are there lots of broken links?

    Objectivity Checklist
    What is the author's point of view? What is the purpose of the site? Why was the site created? If there is advertising on the page, is it clearly differentiated from the information content?

    Site origin Checklist
    Look at the URL or address. Is an educational, governmental, organisational or commercial website?

    Domain Categories
    .edu or .ac (academic institution) 
    .gov (government body) 
    .com or .co (commercial body) 
    .org (non-profit organizations) 
    .net (internet service providers)

    Accuracy Checklist

     Do you have good reason to believe that the information on the site is accurate?  Is the information presented cited correctly? Is the site free of careless errors, misspelled words, and poor grammar?


    Evaluating sources

    Is Wikipedia a credible source?

    What is a peer-reviewed article?

    In secondary school we are always looking for relevant, authoritative information sources, but not always peer-reviewed articles. This is not the case at university.