Evaluation of information

Given the large amount of information available on the internet, through a search it’s easy to gather a multitude of sources of information on a given subject and assume that it’s adequate, credible and up-to-date. However, this may not be the case, so it’s important to evaluate the information you access, whether paper or digital, in a critical manner.

Elements to consider when evaluating information:

  • Authorship and responsibility: Who is the author? Who is the editor? Author's credentials? Who is the organization responsible for the website? Are there contacts?
  • Content and scope: Content appropriate to the theme, objectives of the work?
  • Rigor and objectivity: is the information clear and free of errors?
  • Update: What is the date of the text? Is the webpage recent?

Elements to consider when evaluating journals:

  • Abstract: read to see if the subject is indeed relevant to the study?
  • Date: check the date of publication with the dates of the references to assess the timeliness of the information presented.
  • Citations: it’s important to know if a certain article is referred to by other authors (cited). If you must read many articles it may be useful to start by reading the ones that have been most cited and published in quality journals.
  • Quality of information: one way to limit your search is to do so to peer-reviewed articles or journals. All publications included in the Web of Knowledge and Scopus belong to this area.
  • Objectivity and rigor: Are the arguments provided by the Author consistent?
  • Accuracy: Did you find factual errors that would undermine the quality of the research? Can you verify the accuracy of the information by comparing it with 2 reliable resources?