There are several ways to seek help from a librarian:
You must evaluate all sources that you find - yes, even those found on library shelves or within the library’s databases! So, what do you need to look for?
· Relevancy of resource to your topic
· Currency – are you doing a historical study or do you want only the most recent information about your topic?
· Authority/credibility/reliability of authors/editors/publishers
o What are their credentials?
o Are they considered experts in the field? Do other scholars cite their works?
· Accuracy / validity
o Do other sources say the same thing?
o What supporting evidence (e.g., references) is provided?
· Biases – may have an effect on the information presented
o Who is funding/sponsoring the study?
o What are the author/editor’s affiliations? Political viewpoints? Religious beliefs?
o Is there balanced coverage, where all aspects of the subject are discussed to the same level of detail?
o Is it just-the-facts being presented or an interpretation of the facts?
o Are assumptions or opinions being made without supporting evidence?
o What is the context in which the information was created?
· Purpose & intended audience – this affects how the information is presented
· Referrals – Further Reading suggestions or hyperlinks if it’s a Web site
TIP: The general rule of thumb has been that .gov (and most .edu) Web sites are usually reliable; however, you should evaluate those just as you would the .org and .com sites!
Click on the links below for more information about evaluating information sources:
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