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Evaluating information

How do you know if the information you have found is relevant or trustworthy?

It’s easy to find lots of information when you’re searching, but this doesn’t mean that it is reliable and credible information, or useful for academic research.

Review the following slides to learn about ‘fake news’, information you might find on the Internet, and some quick and easy ways to ensure that what you find is accurate, relevant, and reliable:



For serious researchers, the following 10-minute tutorial will take you into more detail about evaluating Web information. This excellent tutorial includes interactive investigation and feedback.

An accompanying worksheet is linked below, to practice these evaluation strategies:


(Produced by Vaughan Memorial Library, Canada.  Approx. 10 mins)

What about evaluation of print resources…  



                       ... such as books and journals?


Most of the print resources you use will be from the library, which makes the job easier for researchers.  Libraries spend time and money selecting resources from reputable publishers and scholarly sources, so authoritative content is as convenient to find and use as information openly available on the Web.



Review this brief video which describes why and how to evaluate print information resources:

(Produced by North Carolina State University Libraries. 3:22 mins)


Finding information about authors, publishers and journals:

Understanding WHO is responsible for the content of print resources can be very helpful in deciding whether the information is likely to be from a reputable author or publisher.


Author information is usually on the back of a book, on the jacket cover, or near the contents page. The Foreword of a book often includes reference to the status or accomplishments of the authors. The journal cover, or start of a journal article usually contains author information.

USC Library has research databases within which you can search for the publications by an author, to see if they are well published and cited (Scopus and Web of Science).  Authors of articles in the database Science Direct can be selected to revert to further author information in Scopus.

PUBLISHERS – Books and Journals

Publishers Global (List publishers – searchable by country, subject etc.)

DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals (Indexes and provides access to high-quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals)

Beall’s list of predatory journals and publishers (Reputable list of ‘predatory’ publishers of very questionable quality - this list has been discontinued as an actively updated resource in early 2017, but remains a very extensive list with useful links to evaluation sources)

USC Library database Ulrichs Web: Global Serials Directory is a comprehensive directory of journals world-wide, and indicates whether a particular journal title is refereed (peer-reviewed) or not.

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