Topic 2 Factors that affect the selection of digital resources

When you or your learners have found interesting digital resources by searching the internet it is important to spend time on evaluating the resources by some questions:

  • What
  • Who
  • Why
  • When


ACCURACY & COVERAGE – WHAT does the material contain?

Reliability: To which extent is the information credible and accurate? To evaluate the reliability, your own experience and knowledge as well as the source’s reputation plays an important role

Relevance: How relevant and/or useful is the material for your needs? Which topics are covered, and to what depth?

References: Which other sources has been cited in the work/material?

Target audience: Who is the intended audience (scholars, school children, general public, etc..)?


AUTHORITY – WHO is communicating the information?

Author: Is the author well known in field of research? Does the author have academic legitimacy? Has he / she been published before? Is there any way to contact the author? In short – what are the author’s qualifications for writing on the subject?

Publisher:  Who is responsible for the information – a company, an agency,  an organization or an individual? Any contact information? Serious publishers often clearly express who they are and what they do. How reputable is the publisher?


OBJECTIVITY – WHY was the material published?

Purpose: What is the purpose of material / document? Inform, present research, disseminate views, entertain, sway the opinion of the audience…? Is the information presented with a minimum of bias?


CURRENCY – WHEN was the material produced/written?

Up to date: When was the text written? Is the material enough for you? Is the publication / web page dated? Updated? If the date is included  it may have various meanings: date first created, date placed on the web or date last revised.

How to evaluate sources

In this topic we examined the various factors that after the search affects the selection of digital resources by asking four questions: What, Who, Why and When.