Feeling overwhelmed by too much information? Are you struggling to decide which resources to use? Have you found websites that look good but you can't tell who created them or if they are being updated?
There are some simple ways to evaluate information. These guidelines can assist if you're feeling like a victim of information overload.
Select a website, book or article and use the following criteria:
- Who created it?
- Credentials, affiliation?
- What organization hosts, sponsors or publishes the information?
- Are the facts substantiated?
- What documentation is provided?
- Date the content was created, or updated?
- If the content is in print, is this the latest edition?
- If it's on the web, is there a date stamp at the bottom of the page?
- Do the links still work?
- Who was the content designed for?
- Is the page appropriate for your use?
- Is the purpose clearly stated, or implied?
- On the web, you can often find out more in the "about" section.
- In print, there may be an introduction that helps you understand the purpose of the content.
- Is the purpose to: inform, educate, persuade, or sell?
- Does the content show a particular political or ideological bias?
- Has it been created to advertise or market a product or service?
- What is the time period covered?
- Is the time period appropriate for the topic?
- What aspects of the topic are covered?
- What is the level of detail?
- Does the layout make sense?
- Are graphics used effectively?
- Is the type readable?
- Is there a search function available?
- Does it seem to work well
- Can search operators, adjacency, or punctuation be used?
Connectivity and navigation (websites and databases)
- Are there software requirements?
- Does it work on all computers?
- Is it often busy, or offline?