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Assessing and selecting: Reliability

Part of the Information Literacy Portal

Authority of the source

  • Is the writer an authority? Is he a recognized author in his field? For which organization does he work? What is known about the author?
  • Is it a reputable organization? Who is the website administrator? A document or website of a respected known organization is generally more reliable than that of a vague foundation with dubious or ambiguous objectives
  • Does the author, or organization, receive sponsorship? Sponsorship does not have to be a problem, but keep in mind that commercial interests can play a role
  • Is there a quality assessment? If so, is there an editorial? Are articles 'peer-reviewed'? Certainly in the case of peer review, there is a high degree of reliability because several experts / scientists have already critically assessed the journal article.

Content

Quality of the source

  • Does the source look professional?

Verifiability

  • Is there a reference list? What is the quality of those references?
  • Is it possible to check whether information is correct and complete?

Accuracy

  • Are the facts correct? Check whether they can be confirmed in another source. Note: if you always see the same literal text, the information is copy/pasted and it is unlikely that the creators of this source have checked the information
  • Are opinions substantiated with facts?
  • Does the information come from a primary source or is it second-hand information?

Objectivity

  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform, to form opinions, to serve propaganda, etc.?
  • Is it about (hard) facts or opinions?
  • Has the subject been approached from multiple angles?

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