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Website: Research Help

Evaluating Information

The Big 5 Criteria can help you evaluate your sources for credibility:

  • Currency: Check the publication date and determine whether it is sufficiently current for your topic.
  • Coverage (relevance): Consider whether the source is relevant to your research and whether it covers the topic adequately for your needs.
  • Authority: Discover the credentials of the authors of the source and determine their level of expertise and knowledge about the subject.
  • Accuracy: Consider whether the source presents accurate information and whether you can verify that information. 
  • Objectivity (purpose): Think about the author's purpose in creating the source and consider how that affects its usefulness to your research. 


In general, websites are hosted in domains that tell you what type of site it is.

  • .com = commercial
  • .net = network provider
  • .org = organization
  • .edu = education
  • .mil = military
  • .gov = U.S. government

Commercial sites want to persuade you to buy something, and organizations may want to persuade you to see an issue from a particular viewpoint. 

Useful information can be found on all kinds of sites, but you must consider carefully whether the source is useful for your purpose and for your audience.

Fact Checking

Fact checking can help you verify the reliability of a source. The following sites may not have all the answers, but they can help you look into the sources for statements made in U.S. politics.