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ENGL 1050: Argumentative Writing and Critical Thinking

Research Guide for ENGL 1050

Evaluating Resources

The easiest way to avoid misinformation or bad information is to use the library resources we've discussed. But sometimes misinformation can pop up even in our library resources.  So I always advise students when they find an article online, to think about the following four concepts, called the ABCC of Evaluating Information.


Who wrote your article?  Make sure you can identify the authors as real people.


Does the information come off as objective? Is it from a commercial news site like CNN or Yahoo Finance? If so their business model may impact the quality of your information.


Does this information help make your argument or support your research topic? Don't pick the first thing you find on Google!


How old is your article? You should always try to use up to date business information if possible!


ABCC Checklist

Use this checklist to help you evaluate your information:


WHO made this?
Knowing the background of
the writer can tell you a lot about the
  • Can you find information about the author(s) on the website? [Hint: Do a Google search on them!]
  • Is the author(s) affiliated with an educational institution, an organization, or a world government?
  • Do they have a history of research in this area?
Bias HOW honest is this?
Information can be objective or
  • Does the resource cite its sources?
  • Does it advertise itself or another product anywhere?
  • What is the purpose of the resource, to inform, educate, or sell a product?
Content HOW useful is this?
Does this information actually
help you with your assignment.
  • Does it meet all of your professor’s requirements (IE is it peer-reviewed?)?
  • Does this resource support your main argument?
  • Will this resource help you make a recommendation at the end of your report?
Currency WHEN was this made?
Double-check the date so you’re
using the most current
  • Is there a date of publication on the resource?
  • Does the age of the resource affect the strength of your argument or recommendations?


There's also the CRAAP Test!

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