It is important to determine the author or provider of the information so that you can
decide whether it is appropriate to reference them in your work.
If you know who the author is you can find out if they:
are an acknowledged expert in the subject area
have published other papers or books on the subject
have been cited by other authors in their publications
are known to have a particular perspective on the topic and whether their views are controversial.
Sometimes information, particularly on web sites, is sponsored or hosted by an organisation
rather than authored by an individual. Again, you will need to decide whether they are an
authoritative source. Try asking yourself:
What is the 'business' of the organisation? - if it is a web site, the URL is often a clue:
commercial company? (.com or .co.uk or .biz)
a non-profit organisation? (.org)
a government body? (.gov)
a research/educational organisation? (.org or .ac.uk or
How well established is it?
Adapted from the Open University's SAFARI tutorial by Cardiff
University, with permission from the Open University Library.