ABCDE Method

This evaluation process will help you distinguish the good from the bad, the authoritative from the unsubstantiated, the timely from the outdated. Answer as many questions as you can for the best evaluation.

Comparison Checklist

Authority

  • Who is the author / publisher / source?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic? The website’s “About” page is a good place to start, but also Google the author to get more information.
  • Is there contact information?
  • What does the URL (.com .edu .gov .org .net) reveal about the author or source?

Example website: EFSA

Bias

  • Does the author / entity make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
Example website
Hawaii Independent & Sovereign

Content

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level, i.e., not too simple or too advanced for your needs?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Does the information match other sources such as books and journal articles?
Example website
Bottlenose Dolphins

Date

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated? Is there just a copyright date?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
Example website
Virtually Hawaii

Evaluation

  • Are you comfortable citing this as a reputable source for your research paper or project?
  • Why or why not?