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Speech 101: Evaluating Information

Information evaluation video

The following video shows you how to evaluate information. While it uses the same criteria as those in your textbook, it calls some of them by different labels.

Librarian for Communication Studies & Theatre

Criteria for evaluating information

The following criteria for evaluating information come from your textbook. The title of the evaluation criteria from the video is given in parentheses. Note that the video lists them in a different order.

Accuracy (Accuracy in the video)

  • How would you evaluate the accuracy of an article?
  • Here are some questions to ask – there are more in your textbook on page 55.
  • Can the factual information be easily verified?
  • Are sources cited?
  • Are they from reputable sources?
  • Is the writing clear and well organized without typos, spelling, or grammatical errors?

Authority (Authority in the video)

  • What do you think this means?
  • What if you can’t identify who wrote the article?
  • Here are some questions?
  • Who is the author or sponsor of the information and why should you believe him/her/them? (What are their credentials?)
  • Is there a way to establish the legitimacy of the author or sponsor? Contact information, etc.
  • Is the source affiliated with a larger, reputable organization?

Currency (Currency in the video)

  • How would you define current for information?
  • Here are some questions to ask:
  • When was the piece first written or most recently updated?
  • Is the time frame appropriate for the information needed?
  • So, if you are speaking on the American Civil War women (civil war was 1861-1865), could you use a diary written by a woman in 1863? Is this a current source?

Objectivity (Purpose in the video)

  • What do you think this refers to?
  • Here are some questions to ask:
  • Is any bias evident?
  • Is there advertising or sponsorship?
  • Is the information intended to inform or to persuade?

Scope or coverage (Relevance in the video)

  • Why do you think the scope of the source is important?
  • Here are some questions:
  • What audience is the piece intended for?
  • Is the information complete?
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