Finding scientific information: Internet resources and source criticism

Evaluating Internet Resources

With Internet sources must be taken especially into consideration:

  • the reliability of the information
  • the permanence and the availability of the document
  • up-to-dateness ja objectivity
  • copyright issues.


  • The effect of the target group to the contents of the material. To whom has the material been directed? Does it have a certain target audience?
  • How objective or subjective is the information? Is the information facts or opinions?
  • Use primary source which reports original content.
  • Fact-checking in very important with statistical facts.
  • How much information is available? Have the different points of view been taken into consideration?
  • Is there a bibliography? What is in the reference list?
  • Are the contents of the information the same in several sources? Compare the information with other sources of the same subject matter.
  • Is it formulated and written carefully with scientific terminology?
  • Is the content structured in basic order IMRD: Introduction,Methods, Results, Discussion.


  • What is the background and qualification of the author? Scientific background, education, assignments, work experience, other publications, background organisation (the mission of the organisation, values and objectives, national or international), memberships.
  • The author's reputation in the scientific community, citations and mentions in textbooks and in lectures.
  • Authors motives and intentions.
  • Has the information been produced by a known office, organisation or expert? The contact information can reveal the background of the author.


Different information providers are trusted in different ways. The websites published by authorities and universities are considered the most reliable. The address of the URL, in other words the WWW-page often shows what organisation publishes the website.

  • Publisher.
  • Is the publication peer reviewed?
  • Is the publication in Julkaisufoorumi (JUFO)?
  • URL, domain; By using the Whois service, you can view the public information of any domain name or IP address.
  • Ultimate objective of the site, what the publisher of the site says about itself.
  • When have the pages been updated last, is the information up to date?
  • Citations in e.g. Google Scholar.
  • Book reviews give insight into what others think of the book.