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Critical evaluation of information is essential to conducting quality research. With so much information available, in many different formats and from many different sources, each piece of information that you select must be carefully reviewed to ensure the quality, authority, perspective and balance that best supports your research.

Some general criteria to consider as you evaluate information sources include:

  • Authority
  • Date of Publication
  • Accuracy
  • Scope / Depth / Breadth
  • Objectivity
  • Quality of Publication
  • Intended Audience
  • Level of Information
  • Ease of Use

Some preliminary review or filtering is often integral to the production and publication process of individual sources. However, different publishers or creators exercise different levels of "quality control" over the information they publish. These varying levels of review make your own assessment critically important.

Some of the information for determining a source's quality and reliability may be apparent in the source itself, however, some of it may require additional consultation in outside sources. The format of the source may determine, to some degree, what to look for.