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Information Literacy Course International Relations: Evaluation criteria

Evaluation criteria: relevance and reliability


Relevance is the extent to which the information helps you to answer your research question.


This refers to how sure you can be that the information is correct. How credible is the information? How objective is the information? There are four aspects to take into consideration when you are assessing how reliable your information is.

  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose
  • Currency

Authority of the source (author/organization) and origin of the document

* What do you know about the author? Is he an authority on the subject? Is he a recognized author in his subject area? Which organization does the author work for?

* What do you know about the organization? Publications by well-known and respected organizations are generally more reliable than material published by vague charitable foundations with dubious or unclear objectives.

* Does the author or organization receive funding from sponsors? Sponsorship is not necessarily a problem, but be aware of any commercial interests that may be involved.


* Are the supposedly factual descriptions correct? Check whether they are backed up by information in other sources.

* Are opinions supported by facts?

* Is the information based on hard facts or on opinions?

* Is the subject explored from different perspectives?

* Are source references provided?

* What is the quality of the cited references?

* Is it possible to verify whether the information is correct and complete?

* Is the quality of the publication assessed? If so, is this done by editors? Are articles peer reviewed? Peer-reviewed articles have been critically assessed by more than one expert/academic.


* Is informing the reader the author's primary goal, or is he rather trying to persuade his audience? (Opinion-forming, propaganda, etc.)


* Is the information up-to-date? Does it reflect the present situation? It depends on your topic and research question whether you need current information. It is always important to be aware of the date the information was published.

Checklist for evaluating information and information sources

The CRAAP test is a useful checklist for evaluating information and information sources.