Part II: Perform search

II.4.2 Quality criteria for scientific publications

In general, every source of information should be critically scrutinized. Printed publications are subject to a certain amount of quality control by the publishers and by the inclusion or non-inclusion of the titles in a reference database. With Internet publications, however, you are largely on your own when it comes to assessing the quality.

Well-established quality criteria are:

  • Publication purpose:
    • With what background was the information was published?
    • For which target group?
  • Author/Source:
    • Can the authors be identified or do they remain anonymous? Who are the authors, from which field do they come?
    • What are the reputation and qualifications of the publisher or by whom was the website published (scientific institution, museum, company etc.)?
  • Content:
    • Where does the content come from?
    • Can the statements be verified?
    • How accurate is the information and how objective is the presentation?
    • How broad is the spectrum of content, what is left out?
  • Timeliness, updating:
    • When was the document published? For Internet sites: When were they last revised (in regard to content); is this even to tell?
    • What is the state of the information?
  • References:
    • What other literature is referred to? For Internet sites: Where do the links lead to, who links to the site and with what intention?

Further tips & hints:

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