Evaluating resources is a crucial step in the research process. Whether in print or in electronic form, resources should be scrutinized and evaluated using a standard set of criteria such as the ones listed below.

Coverage

 

What topics are included in the work?
Are the topics included explored in depth?
Is it well written, organized logically, main points clearly presented?
Are there references, appendices, or bibliography?


Authority

 

What are the author's credentials - educational background, past writing or affiliations?
Have the authors been cited by other writers?
How reputable is the publisher?


Currency

 

Is the publication date clearly labeled?
Is the content of the work up-to-date for the specific topic?
Is the work a second or later edition indicating revision and updating of the contents?

 

Audience and Purpose

 

Is the work written for a particular audience - adult, juvenile, scholar, professional?
If the publication is a journal, is it scholarly or popular (indicating level of complexity)?
What is the work's purpose? To entertain? To inform? To persuade? Unclear?


Accuracy

 

How reliable and free from error is the information?
Are there editors and fact checkers?
Is the information well-researched with supporting references?


Objectivity

 

Is the information presented factual (verifiable) with a minimum of bias?
To what extent is the information trying to sway the opinion of the audience?