Information literacy is the ability to use a set of critical thinking skills necessary to search, locate, analyze, and evaluate information effectively.
Information literacy means knowing when you need information, knowing where to look for it, how to find it, and how to evaluate it.
Information literacy skills are required not only for class assignments but also for lifelong learning, which goes far beyond the classroom.
With the advent of the World Wide Web, access to and availability of information has radically transformed the information gathering process. There is a lot of information out there, but not all is accurate, relevant, or even useful. Publication standards across different information mediums vary drastically and the authority of information found on the web is varied. So, learning effective information gathering and evaluation skillsets when researching on the Internet is especially valuable for use both in the classroom and later in life to filter out extraneous information.
This LibGuide is designed to get you thinking about Internet research strategies and information evaluation.
Look at the URL
Questions to ask:
What is the most approriate information source for your topic? What kind of domain is used?
Look at the credibility of the publishing body by referencing the first part of the URL, which communicates the server operator. For example, the "wsj" in www.wsj.com is the second-level domain name and indicates that the Wall Street Journal is the publishing body of material found on their website. The ".com" is the top-level domain, which communicates information about the publishing body, as noted above.
Who has registered the URL? Do you recognize the publisher? Is it a credible source?
Determining the authorship of a webpage is a crucial component of determining validity of information. The author should be knowledgeable and reliable. Below are questions to ask when evaluating the Authorship of a webpage:
Purpose & Intended Audience
Researching the purpose of information by asking some of the questions below can inform whether the information is objective or biased. Questions to ask:
Accuracy refers to the information's reliability and truthfulness. Ask yourself the following questions:
Currency refers to the timeliness of the information with regard to your research topic. In some cases, information may be timeless while in others the nature of your topic is such that material is constantly evolving and, as a result, time-sensitive information is critical to well researched and relevant project. Be sure to ask yourself the following questions: