Finding library material

Evaluate online content

Have you found a useful looking webpage, online document or other internet resource? You need to be aware exactly what kind of web publication you are looking at.

Use this checklist to determine if it's a suitable source of information for your assignment or research.

Is it relevant?

  • Does the content cover the subject you are researching?
  • What type of resource is it? Academic article? Blog post? Book review?
  • Is the level too basic or too advanced for your needs?

Who created it?

  • Is is a primary or a secondary source?
  • Are the author's name and credentials given?
  • What is the author's affiliation? Personal? Corporate? Expert? Journalist?
  • Are details of a related publisher or organisation given?
  • Does the author/organisation have a reliable background or reputation in the subject area?
  • Does the web address (URL) look official or unofficial?

Is it up-to-date?

  • How does the date of the document relate to the content of the topic?
  • Is it a draft? A new or old edition? Have updates been published since this one?
  • Is it well maintained? Or are there lots of broken links?

Is it reliable?

  • Are the aims of the document stated, and does it address those aims?
  • Does the document reference the sources it cites?
  • Are the sources on which the document is based reliable and up-to-date?
  • Is the research methodology, and any statistical analysis, within the document sound?

It is objective?

  • Is the language of the document objective, subjective, or emotive?
  • Is the work based on a range of evidence and sources? Which sources were used, which sources were not used?
  • Was it written for a purpose? Fund-raising? Support for a cause? Financial or political bias (for example commercial sponsorship)?


Last Updated: 11/09/2018