Skip to main content
Link to Libraries homepage
Link to Libraries homepage
Rutgers University Libraries

Nursing Undergraduate Student Library Research Guide: Evaluating information

Information to support undergraduate students as they become proficient users of library resources and services

Is This Artical Scholarly?

Reliable information characteristics

Good decisions require reliable information.  Using your critical thinking skills, you can evaluate the information you find to make sure it will provide a strong foundation for your decision.  Reliable information has five characteristics:


·         Accurate   -  Accurate information contains the factual evidence and conclusions that are the same or very similar to what you’ve seen in other sources on your subject.   It is also based on the author’s credentials, the nature of the publication and the date.


·         Current   Current information has been published recently.  With bioethical decisions, the timing is very important since change is taking place very rapidly.  For example, the July 2nd  issue of Science included a report from scientists at the Venter Institute on their creation of a simple organism.

·         Objective  -  Objective information includes facts and conclusions from evidence.  Information that is biased is intended to persuade or to present one point of view.  With bioethics information, you may uncover a lot of information that presents opinions.  In this case, you might look at the author's credentials and the source of the publication to consider the information's reliability rather than discarding it immediately.

·        Balanced   -  The information source discusses all aspects of the subject and to the same level of detail.

·         Authoritative  -  Evaulating information for authority means looking at the author and the publication.

 Other sources for evaluating information:


Cornell University's Olin Library's Critically Analyzing Information Sources

Purdue’s Online Writing Lab’s Evaluating Information Guide

UC Berkeley Library’s Evaluating Resources

Johns Hopkins University's Sheridan Libraries Evaluating Information

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers web sites to: or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback Form.