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Faculty Toolkit for Teaching Information Literacy: 3. Evaluate information

Evaluate information

Standard three:

The information literate student critically evaluates information and information sources.

  • evaluates information for reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias of information sources
  • summarizes the main points of information sources and knows when it is appropriate to paraphrase and use direct quotes
  • sees relationships between concepts
  • investigates differing viewpoints
  • reviews the search strategy and changes it if necessary


Checklist for Evaluating Sources

Activity with assessment

Investigating Differing Viewpoints


Students need to be able to (outcomes)

  • Investigate differing viewpoints on an issue in order to demonstrate an understanding of diverse opinions and/or prepare an effective argument

Students need to know (curriculum)

  • Why it's important to explore alternative viewpoints
  • How to use the library catalog
  • How to use the Dewey Decimal System to locate materials
  • Which reference books and databases will provide information on differing viewpoints
  • How to identify biased information

Learning activities (pedagogy)
Combination of:

  • Lecture covering: importance of considering alternative viewpoints in order to develop critical thinking skills; library catalog, call numbers and locations; specific reference books and databases; identifying bias
  • In-class exercise: comparison of sources to identify viewpoints covered

Assignment (assessment)
Before-and-after discussion of a topic:

  • Prior to library session:
    Have students write a short essay on the issues involved in one of the following topics: capital punishment, illegal immigration, racial or sexual discrimination, environmental protection, gay rights (or other topic).
    This could be done in class in a set time period (20-40 minutes). Essays could be turned in to instructor or saved by students for later comparison.
  • After library session:
    Students will be given some time (a few or several days) to research the same topic using some or all of the sources reviewed in the library session. They will then write another essay on the topic, discussing the issues. At the end of the essay they will answer the following question:
    "How has your understanding of the issues involved in this topic changed since your first essay?" Have students include a bibliography of sources consulted.

Grading/Scoring (criteria)

  • Each student's "after" essay will incorporate several additional viewpoints/opinions not mentioned in the first version.
  • Each student's bibliography should include one or more resources that had been reviewed in the lecture.

English 102: Angela Rasmussen & Andrea Reid

Assignment & detailed assessment rubric created for online ENGL102, SU 09

  1. Student must view tutorials on searching and evaluating information.
  2. Compare credibility of sources found on a free-internet search and a search in SCC Library databases.