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The following evaluation criteria should be applied to all types of information sources: Web, print, and broadcast.

Identify who is the author and determine the author's qualifications. Is the author an expert in the field? Has the author published in this field before? Is the author a member of professional/academic societies in the field? For Web resources identify the site's sponsor (university, company, organization or individual). Check the domain extension to determine sponsorship. Does the Web site have a link to information about the author or sponsor? Does the author or Webmaster provide contact information?

Determine if the information is reliable and error free. Is there an editor or fact checker who verifies the information? Is it published in a peer-reviewed/scholarly publication? Are the sources of factual information listed so that they can be verified from other sources? Is the material free of grammatical and spelling errors?

Determine the goals and aims of the author. Is the material balanced or is it heavily biased in one direction or another? Are the opinions of the author expressed? For Web sites, is the information presented as a public service? Is the Web site intended to advocate certain opinions? Is there advertising on the Web site? Is the advertising clearly differentiated from the content of the Web site? The Web can often serve as a "virtual soapbox" for expressing opinions so be sure to determine whether the Web site is designed for information or advocacy.

Current information is important, particularly in the sciences. Determine when the source was produced. For Web sites, when was the site written and when was it last updated? Are there many non-working links on the page?
Make sure that the level of information is appropriate for your research. Is it intended for a general or specialized audience? For Web sites, has the page been completed or is it still under construction? Is the information presented cited correctly?

Identify different types of periodicals in order to help you evaluate their information. . .

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