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CE 597 Water Chemistry for Environmental and Ecological Engineering: Evaluating Sources

Is it Credible? (A Checklist)


  • Who is the author/creator of the information? Is he/she the original author/creator? Is the person qualified?  What are his/her credentials?  What is his/her occupation?


  • Is the information accurate?  How does it compare with other sources on the subject?  Is it consistent with what else you know about the subject? Does it provide enough evidence to support its claim or position?


  • Does the source present a balanced view of the different perspectives on the topic? Is the bias of the author/creator obvious? Is the source trying to convince you of a point of view? Is the website or publication in which the item appears sponsored, or endorsed by a political or other special interest group? 

Date of Publication 

  • How important is currency to your topic? Is this research still relevant? Does it report facts from the actual time of the event or issue? Is it retrospective, providing some review or analysis of previous research? 

Scope / Depth / Breadth 

  • Is the source comprehensive for the entire field of study, presenting multiple viewpoints? Is it specialized, focusing on only certain aspects? Is it ethnocentric, reflecting the values or beliefs of a certain group? 

Intended Audience / Level of Information 

  • Who is the intended audience: the general public, the educated layperson, professionals, practitioners, scholars? Is it written at a level that is understandable and makes sense to you?  Consider the vocabulary used. Does it build on what you already know? Does it include a bibliography or links to additional sources to consult? 

Quality of Publication 

  • Do you know anything about the publisher of the source? Is it published, sponsored, or endorsed by a professional association, organization, or society? 

Ease of Use / Special Features 

  • Does the source contain a table of contents and/or an index to facilitate use and find the specific information you need? Is it well-organized? Does it include a bibliography? Does it contain graphs, tables, charts, illustrations, photographs, maps, or other special features that add to its usefulness? 

Country URL Extensions

Web sites ending in .CN are based in China and those ending in .ZA are based in South Africa.  Use this list to find the country extensions for your particular countries.