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Evaluating Information Sources

Use this guide to discover some acronyms to remember when evaluating information sources - pick your favorite!


CARDS for website evaluation

Use this acronym - CARDS - to help you evaluate websites before you take information from them. 

Note: The greater number of questions listed below answered "yes", the more likely it is you can determine whether the source is of high information quality. You can also use this guide to evaluate other sources too.


C - Credibility:

  1. Can you find the author/sponsor of the information?  What are their credentials? Education? Experience? Affiliations? 
  2. Can you find an "about us" or "contact us" link?  Does it give more than an email address?  That is, is there a phone number or postal address to contact for more information?

A - Accuracy:

  1. Do there appear to be errors on the page (ie. spelling, grammar, facts)? These kinds of errors not only indicate a lack of quality control, but can actually produce inaccuracies in information.
  2. Do they cite the sources of their information? 

R - Reliability:

  1. Is the source free from any sense of bias?
  2. Is the information free of advertising or clearly separated from it?

D - Date:

  1. Is it easy to find the copyright date?
  2. Are there dates for when it was written?  When it was last revised?
  3. If there are statistics, graphs and/or charts, is it clearly stated when the data was gathered?

S - Source:

  1. Is the information based on primary or secondary sources? 
  2. Are there links to other sources that would score high in this CARDS evaluation?


Additionally, recognize and take into consideration the internet address domain.

  • commercial or business  = .com
  • educational institutions  = .edu
  • government agencies  = .gov
  • military organizations  = .mil
  • network resources  =  .net
  • organizations (non-profit and others)  =  .org

From Capital High School, Olympia, WA.

Main Campus: 215-751-8394 | NERC Learning Commons: 215-972-6270 | NWRC Library: 215-496-6019 | WERC Learning Commons: 267-299-5848