Great! You’ve found some resources you think will help
answer your question. Now what?
You need to evaluate them to make sure they are useful,
reliable and appropriate for your topic.
Laura Sloane 2015
You can evaluate all types of resources—websites, journal
articles, government reports or other documents—using
the same simple test, known as the C.A.R.P test
Let’s look at this in more detail…
• When was it written? Is it still in date for
• Is historical or current information
required to answer your question?
• Who wrote it?
• Are they qualified to have an opinion on
• Is the source trustworthy?
• Does the author support their argument
• What is the perspective of the piece?
• Does it push an opinion or is it factual?
The internet is a fantastic
search tool which you
shouldn’t be afraid of
using. However, because
anyone can publish a
webpage and say whatever
they want, it needs to be
more carefully evaluating
than other resources.
The New Yorker cartoon by Peter
Steiner, July 5, 1993.Image from Wikipedia
One way to evaluate a website if by
checking the domain name to see who has
Most Reliable Evaluate carefully Best avoided
Also check for an identifiable author, publication
or update date and any references or links
TIP! Play it safe. If you’re not sure about
the reliability of a website, it is best to
Government resources are assumed to be
reliable, given that their main role is to provide
accurate information to Parliament or the public.
In fact, they can be some of the most useful
sources as they are normally comprehensive and
up to date.
However, they still need to be evaluated. A research
report will have very different content and purpose to
a press release by a Minister. So keep in mind
C.A.R.P principles—particularly with regards to the
purpose of the information
Is it peer reviewed?
A peer reviewed journal has been through a
formal process where it is evaluated by subject
specialists before publication. In this process
they check that what the journal has to say is
accurate and appropriately researched.
Most databases will have an option in advanced
search to limit your results to peer reviewed articles,
but the best way is to use the Ulrichsweb database
To use Ulrichsweb, simply type the journal title in the search bar
and click the search icon
The referee jumper indicates that the journal is peer reviewed
If you click on the title of the journal it will give
you more information:
You can always ask a librarian if you need help evaluating
resources or using Ulrichsweb
This presentation was developed using
Cassell, K. A., & Hiremath, U. (2013). When and how to use the
Internet as a reference tool Reference and information services:
An introduction (3rd ed., pp. 263-284). London: Facet
Charles Sturt University. (2015). Information Literacy: Evaluate
Information. Retrieved from