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Evaluating Information Sources: Accuracy

Tips for evaluating print and online information sources.

Accuracy

Accuracy of the Information

Questions to Ask:

  • Where did this information come from? 
  • Is the information supported by evidence? 
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Where to Look:

  • On a web page, look near the top of the page.
  • Check the title, the section headings, and the opening paragraphs to see if some person or organization is named as the person(s) responsible for the content of the web pages. Also look near the bottom of the page for this information. (Keep in mind that the webmaster or person who designed the web page is not necessarily the one responsible for the content of the page.)
  • You can sometimes learn something about the source of a web page by examining the page's URL.  The domain name portion of the URL often indicates what type of organization and what country a web page comes from.
  • If you can't find any information about the author(s) on the page you're looking at, try deleting the last part of the URL for that page in your web browser's location box. Delete from the very end of the URL backwards to the first slash mark ("/"), then press the RETURN or ENTER key on your keyboard. If you still don't see any information about the author(s), back up one more directory or slash mark. Keep going until you come to a page that identifies the author(s) of these pages.
  • To find out where the author(s) of books, reference books, or magazines got their information, look at the book jacket blurb and look within your source for a list of references, works cited, or bibliography and footnotes.

 

Bull's Eye
[source: Rob Ellis]