This varies for different topics. In healthcare or legal issues, three to five years is the standard. Do you need current or historical information?
Most database searches allow the user to select the time range.
For what audience or level is the information written? General audience? The public? Scholars? Professionals? Use databases specific to those types of audiences. For instance, for a business audience, select databases that have business and industry journals.
In annotations, explain why you would or would not quote/reference the information from this source in an essay or speech.
Look for evidence of research. Does the author(s) refer to other work or research? Is there a list of references? Are they up to date? Do they contain professional journals and resources?
What kind of language, imagery and/or tone is used (e.g. emotional, objective, professional, etc.)?
Is this a blog with opinions or a scholarly article with a clear process?
Who is the author, creator, or publisher of the source or what organization is responsible for the source? What are their credentials? Are they an expert? Find evidence of their organizational affiliations and other work.
Do they carefully attribute and support their work? Do they have an ethics statement?
Why was this source written (e.g.to to inform, teach, entertain, persuade)? Is the information written with emotion or facts? Are other sources or points of view missing from the author's work?
How might the author's affiliation affect the point of view, slant, or potential bias of the source?
The William C. Bonaudi
Library and eLearning Director: