IEP 0640: Evaluating Information

Why Evaluate?

Locating information, whether in traditional print format or in electronic format, is only the first step in doing research. The next step is to evaluate the quality and the usefulness of what you find. Ask these questions: Do the materials meet your research need?  Are they factual? How can you tell? Who is responsible for the information, what is their area of expertise, and what is their motivation for sharing the information? 

Misinformation vs. Disinformation

Becoming adept at evaluating information includes learning to spot misinformation and disinformation.

Misinformation is "false information that is spread, regardless of intent to mislead." 

Disinformation is sharing “deliberately misleading or biased information; manipulated narrative or facts; propaganda.”

See this article for more information on the differences between misinformation and disinfomation.

How to Spot Fake News

Ways to Remember


Currency - when was the article, book, or webpage written or updated? Is the info current enough for your topic?

Authority - who wrote the article, book, or webpage? Is there evidence that the author or organization is an expert on this subject?

Reliability - Are there references given for the information provided? Is the information supported by evidence? Can this information be verified?

Purpose - does the article, book, or webpage present fact, opinion, propaganda? Is there a bias? Is the purpose to inform, sell, entertain, persuade?



How well can you tell factual from opinion statements?  Take this Pew Research Center quiz.