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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

Person typing on a laptop.Use the ABC test to help you determine the credibility, or reliability of any source of information.

Authority - 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?
  • Is there contact information such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • What kind of reputation does the author, publisher, or website have? Search the Internet to see what other credible sources have to say about the resource that you are evaluating.


  • If you can't find an author or organization listed, especially on a website, you should move on and look for another source. 

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Use the ABC test to help you determine the credibility, or reliability of any source of information.

Bias - 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 intention or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

online news iconUse the ABC test to help you determine the credibility, or reliability of any source of information.

Currency - Timeliness of the Information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work?
  • If it's an online source, are the links working and up-to-date?


CARDIO = Currency. Authority. Relevance. Documentation. Information Type. Objectivity.

This is another method that you can use to evaluate resources. It is more thorough than the ABC Test in that is asks you more questions in order to help you determine if a resource is right for your project.

Adapted from the C.A.R.D.I.O. Evaluation Handout by Hamlett and Lacey, Guttman Community College OER collection in CUNY Academic Works and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.

Evaluating Websites

It is especially important that you evaluate the quality of information provided by websites. Since any person or organization can create a website, you must take on the responsibility for determining the accuracy and relevance of the material on that site. Watch the tutorial for more information on how to evaluate information found on the web.

Video Tutorial

More information . . .


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