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Evaluate Information

A how-to guide covering topics related to the evaluation of information.

Evaluate Information

The Importance of Information Literacy

According to the American Library Association (2021), "information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to 'recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.'" Honing these skills is crucial to your success at CityU as well as in your everyday life. 

Why do we evaluate information?

Evaluating information invites you to think critically about the resources that you intend to use in your academic work. We evaluate information in order to present the highest quality work in our courses and to add to the academic body of knowledge more broadly. The methods presented here will guide you in making good choices when selecting resources that you want to use in your studies.

The ACRL Framework

The Association of College & Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) created a framework to describe the complex set of core ideas that make up the basis of information, research, and scholarship. According to the ACRL, this framework for information literacy refers to a "set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning" (2015). As a student, you have an ethical obligation, as both an information consumer and a knowledge creator, to work towards a contextual understanding of how information is created, shared, and disseminated--as well as how these information systems can adapt and change over time. 

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy is organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions. The six concepts that anchor the frames are presented alphabetically: 

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual – Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required. 

  • Information Creation as a Process – Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences. 

  • Information Has Value – Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination. 

  • Research as Inquiry – Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field. 

  • Scholarship as Conversation – Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations. 

  • Searching as Strategic Exploration – Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops. 

To read more about these core concepts, and the knowledge practices and dispositions association with them, please see: