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Computer Science: Evaluate Information

RADAR Framework

It is not enough that a source is broadly on your topic, you should focus on what answers your questions and/or builds your argument. Consider if it has enough detail to be useful when doing university level research.    

  • How does this information help me accomplish my goals and/or answer my question? 
  • Which discipline is this information from? 
  • Who is the intended audience? 
  • Does it meet the requirements for the assignment?

Consider an author’s expertise when evaluating their work. If a person has not spent time with a subject, studying it, learning about it, exploring the theories or principles underlying it, they are unlikely to be able to explain it accurately or provide meaningful analysis. 

An author’s educational and professional background can be a good indication of their expertise. How that person is viewed by their peers – other researchers in their area – is often a good indication of their authority. 

The more complex a subject, the more specific you should be about someone’s expertise.

  • Who created the information? One person? Many people? Government? A Corporation? A Non-Profit? Who are they affiliated with? 
  • Do other experts cite or refer to their work?
  • What are their qualifications and experience? 
  • Consider their background. Do you have reason to believe that they understand the complexities of this topic?
  • How do you know what an author’s background is? How could you find out or verify it?  

When was the information published? Just because something is older doesn’t mean that it is outdated, but it is important to consider if new research exists that contradicts what was previously thought to be true.

  • When was the information created or last updated?
  • Is currency important to this question or discipline? 
  • Could this information be outdated? Have we learned anything new since this was written that might change how we think about this topic?
  • Is this a landmark piece of work, well-known in the field?  
  • Could this work be used to provide historical context or comparison?

Appearance is important as different types of sources are identifiable through their appearance and context clues. 

Accuracy is important because errors and untruths distort a line of reasoning. When you use inaccurate information in your own work, you undermine your own credibility.

  • Is the information presented professionally and/or academically?  
  • Does the presentation follow the appropriate scholarly formats? 
  • Are there clear editing errors such as spelling, grammar, or typos? 
  • Does the author use outside sources to strengthen claims? (the sources used need to be relevant to the argument)
  • Can you follow the outside sources? Are they reliable?  
  • Is their argument or thesis well defended and logical?
  • Has this information been peer-reviewed? Has anyone with subject area expertise checked it?

Reason is important because books, articles, web pages, and other information sources are made to serve a purpose. They can educate, entertain, or sell a product or point of view. Some sources may be frivolous or commercial in nature, providing inaccurate, false, or biased information. Other sources are more ambiguous about any potential partiality. Varied points of view can be valid if they are based on good reasoning and careful use of evidence.  

  • Why has this information been made available? To inform, sell, educate, entertain, or convince? 
  • How has the information been presented? A book, an academic journal, a popular magazine, a website, or a trade periodical?   
  • What type of information is this? New research? An experiment, a research study, a theoretical model, a case study, an opinion piece, propaganda, or something else? 
  • Who has funded this research? is this stated? 
  • Has the information been written with an objective, impartial point of view? Is it biased? 
  • Have they included their methodology, population, and/or data? Is it appropriate?


RADAR information adapted from:

Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal Of Information Science, 39, 470- 478. doi:10.1177/0165551513478889.

William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University. (28 June, 2018). Evaluating sources: Using the RADAR framework. Retrieved from