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? 

          Are there other sources that have similar findings?

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

Citing sources using Veterinary Research style

For the assignment, you will need to provide an in-text citation and bibliography following Veterinary Research citation style. See the document: 

Journal abbreviations

To locate commonly used abbreviations, use PubMed journal catalog:

Note, some journals are single words, or may not have abbreviations listed. For short titles, keep as written (e.g. PLoSOne). For longer titles, abbreviate common words as found in other abbreviations such as the example with this made up title:

  • Journal of Veterinary Sciences and Corresponding Research = J Vet Sci Corresponding Res

If you have any questions, please email me

Need additional help?

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

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: