Becoming a Professional II: Evaluating Information

Evaluation criteria

There are several types of evaluation criteria that can be implemented when reviewing a source for its credibility, authority, reliability. The basic areas to examine include:

1) Coverage
          What aspect of your topic does it cover?
          What makes this useful compared to another source on the topic?

2) Authority

          Who wrote it?
          What is their level of expertise regarding the topic?

3) Audience
          Who was it written for? (this can also help determine level of potential bias)        

4) Objectivity
What viewpoints are covered?
          What is the tone of the language used?

5) Accuracy
          Can you determine where the author gained his/her information from (e.g. are sources cited?)
          Are there other sources that have similar findings? are sources cited?)

6) Currency
          When was the information produced?
          How does that publication date fit in with what you need?

There are also evaluation checklists available online, two have been adapted into the following worksheets for your use: 

(provided by California State University, Chico). 

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

(provided by the Open University in the UK, some additional modifications have been made)

  • Presentation
  • Relevance
  • Objectivity
  • Motivation
  • Provenance
  • Timeliness

In-Class Discussion Activity

Open up this Google Document and enter in your group's assessment of the assigned source.

Where to find resources

Use the Becoming a Professional I (1st semester) course guide, Selecting Databases for a list of databases to search.


What does it mean to be a credible source?

What does it mean to be a credible source?  While the following video is geared towards students writing papers, it contains information that is transferrable to several aspects when evaluating information to determine if it is a source you will use to build your knowledgebase or share with a client requesting additional information.

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

Need additional help?

Kiri  DeBose's picture
Kiri DeBose
Vet Med Library
245 Duck Pond Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Citing sources using JAVMA

For the assignment, you will need to provide an in-text citation and bibliography following JAVMA citation format.  See page 8 of their guidelines for authors. 

Journal abbreviations

To locate commonly used abbreviations, use PubMed journal catalog:

Search for the title (e.g. Veterinary Record) and in the list of results (particularly for those that retrieve multiple options for your title) look for the "NLM Title Abbreviation" and based on the citation style, add periods if necessary between the abbreviated words of the journal title.

If you have any questions, please email me

Additional resources

Utilize the Vet Med Library's resources and services through the Vet Med Library website:

You can find recommendations to resources at the Vet Med subject guide: