It is about the extent to which you can trust that the information is correct. To what extent is the information credible? To what extent is the information objective? The reliability of information can be assessed by:
Authority of source
- Is the author an authority? Is he a recognised author in his field? What organisation does he work for? What is known about the author?
- Is it a reputable organisation? Who is the website administrator? A document or website from a respected and well-known organisation is generally more reliable than one from a vague foundation with dubious or unclear objectives.
- Is there any author or organisation sponsored? Sponsorship does not have to be a problem, but keep in mind that commercial interests may come into play
- Is there any quality assessment? If so, is there an editorial board? Have articles been peer-reviewed? Peer review in particular implies a high degree of reliability because various experts/scientists have already critically assessed such an article.
- Are the facts correct? Check whether they are confirmed in another source. Note:
if you see the same literal text over and over again, then the information has been cut and pasted and it is unlikely that the creators of the website have checked the information.
- Are opinions supported by facts? ▪ Is the information primary or second-hand?
- What is the purpose of the information? Is the purpose to inform, educate, propagate etc.?
- Is it about (hard) facts or opinions? ▪ Is the subject explored from different angles?
Quality source of information
- How accurate and detailed are the data?
- Does the information source look professional (layout / structure)?
- Is it free or paid for information?
- Where does the information come from? Does it come from a university, college, or government institution? Did you find it via a library?
- Are sources cited? What is the quality of those sources? ▪ Can we check whether the information is correct and complete?