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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Library Services for High School Students: Evaluating information

Guide for library resources available to high school students

Evaluating Information

As you saw on the Finding Information page, some information sources will not be suitable for you to use in your assignments, while others may be, as long as you spend some time evaluating them first.

For every resource, try to answer the following questions:

Who wrote it? Who is the author? If you Google their name, can you find them? Are they an expert on the topic? Only use information from authors you have decided are respectable and credible.
Who did they write it for? Who is the intended audience? Was it written for a particular group, like children? Researchers? Political parties? If it isn't written for an academic audience, it may not be suitable for your assignment. 
Why did they write it? What was the author's purpose when they wrote it? Are they trying to entertain you? Are they trying to sell you something? Try to only use information written to inform. 
When did they write it? When was it written? As a general rule, if it is more than 10 years old, it is too old for your assignments (although there may be some exceptions). Aim for information that is less than 5 years old whenever you can. 
Where did you find it? Does the source give anything away about the suitability of the resource? Is it from a facebook post? What is the domain of the website? Generally, social media posts will not be suitable for use in your studies, because they rarely meet the other criteria listed above. Try to avoid websites with .com URLs, and use .org URLs with caution. Stick to .edu and .gov sites.