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Information Literacy Habits of Mind (HOMs) Toolkit: Evaluation

CCL HOM: Evaluation

Evaluate search results in order to select sources that are broadly appropriate to their topic, distinguishing between basic types of information (e.g., scholarly v. popular, primary v. secondary) and revising keyword terms/source bases as needed to return relevant material.

Evaluation Is...

  • Resource analysis
  • Inference
  • Revision of research strategy

SYR Knowledge Cycle Module

First Year Worksheet

HOM Covered: Arguably all five.

This worksheet can be the basis of a one-shot lesson plan.

Creative Commons License Info

Creative Commons License
Information Literacy Habits of Mind Toolkit by Claremont Colleges Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.

Sticky Sheet Evaluation activity

This set of activities gets students thinking about the links between evaluating interpersonal rumor, online news sources, and academic/scholarly sources. Students circle the room writing on large sticky pads and at the end of the activity have the opportunity to reflect on their own thinking by writing their own strategies for evaluation. Optional: use the 5W source evaluation handout for a portion of the activity.

Selected Learning Outcomes

  • Students will identify the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical).
  • Students will examine and compare information sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point-of-view or bias.
  • Students will determine whether information satisfies the research or other information need.

The Credibility Continuum

HOM: Evaluation

Instructions to Librarian: You can copy this box directly into a LibGuide. Demonstrate the idea of a continuum with the below image, or substitute your own ideas of fun into the attached PowerPoint slide. This original image can lead to a discussion about how not everyone might agree with the placement of things on a continuum (e.g., an earthquake is never fun, but In-N-Out might be lower on the continuum for a vegan). Then, have students fill out the attached handout, creating a continuum of reliability. You can substitute out the sources for ones more relevant to your subject area, if you choose. There are guiding questions for students as well. Give students 2-3 minutes to fill out the worksheet, then have a brief discussion of where they might locate each source on the continuum and why. You can also discuss where on the continuum might be acceptable for a given assignment. This same handout can be repurposed for other metrics of evaluation, such as bias, timeliness, and validity.

Evaluating sources with Who What Where

This worksheet gives students the opportunity to work through evaluating an article using the classic Who What Where set of questions. The associated teaching module gives suggestions for using the worksheet in class.

Finding Review Articles in the Sciences

For students in the sciences, review articles are often the best starting place for research projects since they give students an overview of the field before they dive into the primary literature. However, even upper-level students often have not been introduced to review articles. The infographic below on finding and using review articles can be added to a course guide or distributed to students before class as an introduction to review articles.

Finding Review Articles: an infographic

Evaluating Resources

HOM covered: Evaluation

Link to LibGuide page

Instructions to librarian: You can copy this page directly into a LibGuide. Replace the links to point to sources appropriate to your context.


Appropriateness of source to topic

HOM: Evaluation

Instructions to Librarian: This is a very simple list of guiding questions that students can use to determine if a source is appropriate to use. This list can obviously be expanded and/or the questions be made more advanced. You could ask students to actually respond to each of these questions. You could also just give students this list or put the list on a LibGuide to help guide them to appropriate sources for their assignment.

The CASA Approach

HOM covered: Evaluation

Link to LibGuide page

Instructions to librarian: You can copy this page directly into a LibGuide.


Scholarly v. Popular Chart

HOM covered: Evaluation

Link to LibGuide page

Instructions to librarian: You can copy this page directly into a LibGuide.