How we view the world is based on the information that we encounter. We all use the Internet to gather information for all sorts of different reasons such as medical, financial, political, etc. and it is crucial to evaluate the information that we find.
Evaluating information is also important for your assignments; it will help you decide what is reliable, strengthen your arguments, and perhaps earn you a better grade. But what are some good strategies for evaluating information? A great place to start is to ask these four main questions:
1. WHO WROTE IT?
Knowing about the author will help you to analyze the information that you've found, and use it more effectively.
2. MOTIVATION AND BIAS
When you know about potential motivations or biases associated with a resource, ask how these might affect the information that you're viewing.
3. EVIDENCE AND RELIABILITY
Ask what sort of evidence the author provides for the points that he or she is trying to make. The more verifiable evidence that a resource uses, the more likely that the information is accurate.
People view different topics differently and talk about them in different ways at different times. Make sure that the resource you're viewing is either up-to-date or published at a time that is relevant to the topic that you're studying.
Many databases offer a quick way limit your results to peer review literature. Databases, such as Academic Search Premier, have a box to check for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. Below is a screenshot of a database that has a check-box to limit results only to scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.
These databases can limit results to scholarly articles: