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Evaluating Information: 5 Key Points

This guide will help you assess the quality, accuracy and reliability of the information you locate to support your assignments and research.


Is it clear to you at a glance:

  • Who wrote the page i.e. where is the information coming from? 
  • What is the affiliation of the author(s), e.g., to an organisation, company or educational institution?
  • If sponsorship is clearly evident on the page?

TIP: Look for an “about” or “who we are” button to find out more about the author(s).


Is it clear to you at a glance:

  • That the information is correct?
  • That you can easily verify the information on the website using another source?
  • That the author is qualified to write about this topic?
  • That references to other sources backing up the author’s claims are clearly given?

TIP: Using Google’s advanced search function to discover which websites link to this website can often be a useful indicator of the accuracy of the information found there.


Is the purpose of the website to:

  • Inform you?
  • Advocate a particular argument in favour of an issue?
  • Sell or promote something?
  • Provide you with news, or is it just someone’s personal website?

TIP: The letters at the end of a web address, or URL, will give you a clue as to the kind of site it is, e.g. .com = commercial, .edu or = educational.


Is it clear to you at a glance:

  • That the level of detail in the information is suitable for your purpose?
  • That the information on the site is well presented?
  • That the information on the site increases your understanding and is not just a list of links?

TIP: Compare to other sites on the same topic to assess the quality of the coverage.


Is it clear to you at a glance:

  • When the website was last updated – is there a “last created” or “last updated” date clearly visible?
  • That the links provided by the author are live?
  • That there are no dead links on the page, a sign that the site is checked regularly?

TIP: Read the website for references to recent dates which shows that the content is up to date.


Critical Thinking Tutorial

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