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FYSEM 110GS Gender in Science

Evaulating Information

Criteria to use when assessing the quality of the information you find and deciding which sources to use for your research

Not all information resources are created equal!  Be sure you think about what kind of information you are using.  Some quick guidelines:

  • Authority - Can you tell who the author is? What are the author's and publisher's credentials?
  • Currency - What is the publication date? This is especially important if you need current/up-to-date information.
  • Audience - Is it written/intended for an academic or a popular audience?
  • Bias - What is the author's point of view?
  • Relevance - Is the information relevant to your research question?
  • Accuracy - Does the author cite his/her sources?

Penn State University Libraries' How to Evaluate Information page offers an in-depth guide to evaluating sources, including tips on what to look for in books, periodicals, and web sites.

Some additional tips when evaluating science writing:

  • Science articles for a general audience - Do a search on the article author's name to see if he or she has written other articles on science or not.  More articles indicates the author has more experience writing about scientific topics.
  • Research reports - Can you tell who has funded the research? See Who pays for science? for more information about why funding information is important for helping you determine if a piece of research may be biased. 
Springshare's information on Accessibility in Libguides - - MHC Accessibility Barriers Form