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Political Science

Evaluative Guidelines

The purpose of this page is to assist the student and researcher in identifying and distinguishing between information sources that are reliable, and those that are intended to misinform, mislead or propagandize.

Below are principles and guidelines that are useful in assessing the quality of information being presented on websites.

Purpose: Information? Education? Commercial? Persuasion? Advocacy? Personal? Hoax?

Authority: Who are the authors? What are their credentials? Do they have sufficient authority to speak on the subject? Can they be contacted? Is there an organization or sponsor? Are there references to support the claims being made?

Objectivity: Does the content reflect bias? Is it explicit of hidden? Does the identity of the author suggest bias? How does the bias affect the information?

Appropriateness: Is the content appropriate for your assignment? Is the content accurate, complete and well-written? Is it relevant to your purposes? Does it contain potentially offensive content or images?

Currency: Is the page up-to-date? Can you tell when it was last updated? Are there dead links?

Responsibility: Is the information credible? Is the tone of the writing hyperbolic? Are there unverifiable claims? Are the text and layout used to editorialize unnecessarily?

Clarity: Is the information clearly presented? Is it well-written? Well-organized? Are there typos and mistakes in grammar? Do the graphics assist comprehension or do they distract?

Functionality/Accessibility: Does the site load quickly? Is it easy to navigate?

Copyright

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