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Global Issues

Why Evaluate?

ABC checklistEvaluating Information Resources

Once you've found a source, you have to determine if it will provide you with the type of information that is needed. You should also investigate the ABCs of that source: Authority, Bias, and Currency.

The ABC test is a quick way to help you determine whether or not a source is credible, or reliable. Of course there may be many more questions you could ask yourself about a source, but the ABC test gives you a great place to start.


Get Expert Search Tips

Learn about lateral reading, fact-checking, and more on our Evaluating Information guide.

The ABC Test

Use the ABC test to help you determine the credibility of a website.


The source of the information

Who is the author, publisher, source, or sponsor?
What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
MOST IMPORTANT: Lateral Reading

Lateral Reading

  • Leave the website, open new tabs, and seek additional information about a website's credibility, reputation, funding, and potential biases.
  • Don't just rely on the information found on the website itself. Don't take their word for it. See what others have to say.
  • Lateral reading allows you to get a more complete perspective on the credibility of a source.

From Univ of Louisville Libraries Citizen Literacy Toolkit


The purpose and point of view of the information

What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, to teach, to sell, to entertain?
Do the authors or sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Are multiple perspectives included? 
What bias do you bring to the topic? Are you only looking for sources that confirm your current beliefs?

Be Aware of Confirmation Bias

"The first step in countering confirmation bias is to recognize it in ourselves. Then we can guard against it by getting our news from a wide range of credible sources, reading opinion columns from a variety of viewpoints, and including these varied perspectives in our social media posts."

From the News Literacy Project - "Don't Let Confirmation Bias Narrow Your Perspective."

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, and recall information in a way that supports what we already believe. News Literacy Project


The timeliness of the information

When was the information published or posted?
Has the information been revised or updated?
Does your topic require current or historical information?
Are the links functional? Do they take you to updated information sources?


Searching the Web

Search Examples

  • "human rights" India
  • sea level "climate change"
  • refugee research

Restricting your Internet search to certain domains (.edu, .gov, .org) can help you find more focused results.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • =  restricts your search results to those found on higher education websites (colleges & universities)
  • = restricts your search results to those found on government websites
Google Book Search

Search Examples:

  • global water shortage
  • international terrorist groups


Need full text?

If the full text of a book is not available online, order it through interlibrary loan. This is a free service provided by PCC Library. Just complete the interlibrary loan form.

Google Scholar Search

Need full text?

If the full text of an article is not available online, order the article through interlibrary loan. DO NOT PAY for it online! In most cases, ordering the article through this service is free! Just complete PCC Library's interlibrary loan form.

When searching for country information on the Internet you might also want to try searching for government websites, regional versions of search engines, and websites with country specific domain extensions.

Domain Extension Examples:

  • .us = United States
  • .in = India
  • .ws = Samoa
  • .ke = Kenya

How to Search with Country Domain Extensions:

Search for Indian websites that mention women and stereotypes:

  • gender women stereotypes India

Search for Samoan websites regarding gender and human rights:

  • "human rights" gender Samoa