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ENG1110 English Composition & Written Composition

An Introduction to the Research Process and Basic Information Literacy Skills

Evaluating Information for Academic Quality

Now that you've found information, you will need to evaluate that information for academic quality and determine if it will address your research needs.

Video produced by the NYIT Library.

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Evaluate Every ASPECT

ASPECT is a memory device to help you remember the criteria by which you evaluate information for appropriate academic quality. Apply the following criteria to your information to see if it should be used.

Authority: Who is responsible for the information? What is their expertise?

  • Is there an author’s name?
  • Can you locate the author’s credentials?
  • Can you find evidence of author expertise in the subject?
  • Have you located similar works by this author?
  • Do you have personal recommendations for this author?
  • Do you know the publisher’s credentials and reputation?
  • Are there similar works from this publisher?

Sources: Do they cite their sources? What sources do they cite?

  • Does the author provide documentation? (A bibliography, footnotes/end notes, etc.)
  • Is the included documentation from credible sources?

Purpose: To inform? Persuade? Entertain? Sell?

  • Was this source written to inform and educate?
  • Does the source argue a perspective or specific opinion?
  • Is the source intended to entertain or sell?
  • Is the content aimed at a general audience, or is it written for readers with expertise in the subject?
  • Is the source too basic, too technical, too advanced?
  • Is the source just right for your research needs?  

Evenness: Objectivity, lack of bias, showing both (all) sides of an issue?

  • Does the author recognize other points of view?
  • Is the information presented objective?
  • If the source is biased, does the author acknowledge the bias?

Coverage: Is the issue covered thoroughly? What is left out?

  • Is the information new? Does it support what you have found in other sources?
  • Is the source comprehensive or inclusive enough for your needs?
  • Does this source provide information that is relevant to your needs?

Timeliness: How current is the information? (A 5-10 year guideline can be used if the subject matter or professor does not dictate otherwise.)

  • When was the source published?
  • Is the date appropriate for your topic?


Source (with slight modifications): Clark College Libraries