If you are researching in the fields of science, medicine, current economic patterns, current politics, and/or contemporary social issues, you need to use the most current information available.
Are the statistics outdated?
Is the author relying on old data to support an argument?
Evaluating Information: Relevance
Who is the intended audience?
Is the content written for experts, scholars, and researchers, or is it intended for a general audience.
Does it meet your needs?
If you are writing a scholarly piece, you will want to use scholarly sources.
Is the information presented at an appropriate comprehension level?
Is technical or specialized vocabulary (jargon) used? Is it used properly? Is language used to enhance, or to obscure the argument?
Who is the author?
Anyone can publish anything on the Internet. Be wary of using any information that comes from a site without a clear statement of its purpose or the authors.
Is the information unique?
Can it be supported and/or verified by other sources?
Is there a better source for the same information?
e.g. Use the original source of statistics instead of citing a site you found online.
Currency & Relevance
Explore the image below -- mouseover the targets to learn more about evaluating the currency and relevance of information. This example uses a website, but the techniques can be applied to any source (e.g scholarly and popular articles, books, newspapers, trade publications, etc.).
"Amazing Facts." The Cleaner Earth Project. The Cleaner Earth Project, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2013.