Questions to ask:
- Are statements backed up by evidence?
- Are sources clearly cited in such a way the reader can locate them?
- Can you verify claims presented as evidence elsewhere?
- Is the content grammatically correct?
- Are there spelling or typographical errors?
What to look for when determining accuracy:
- For web pages, look for links to outside sources, and pay particular attention to whether the link leads you to an error page or is otherwise nonfunctioning -- this indicates the author/creator is not being careful when linking, is negligent in updating links, or, even worse, is attempting to "fake" links to outside sources.
- If the author/creator links to outside sources, visit those sources:
- Is the author/creator of the original source misrepresenting the linked material (which would make the original less accurate)?
- Does the linked source material stand up to a critical evaluation?
- The top-level domain of the URL indicates the type of organization responsible for the website, which can give you clues about accuracy. For example, in the URL library.eku.edu, the top-level domain is .edu. In general, .gov and .edu pages are more accurate than .com and .net pages.
- For books, journals, or magazines, look for footnotes, endnotes, or links/references/mention to/or outside sources.
- Scholarly articles and books are extensively documented with quality sources.
- Popular information sources (and much information found on the open web) rarely cite sources in full; however, more reliable popular sources should provide enough information (like the original source title and/or author) to track down sources.