Information Literacy Interactive Tutorial

'Good' Information and 'Bad' Information

To evaluate the information you have found in your search, it is advised that you think about the characteristics of the information, as this will help indicate whether it's 'good' information or 'bad' information. Examples of good and bad information are shown below.

'Good' information

'Bad' information


  • Is readable
  • Is well written
  • Is clear
  • Is messy
  • Is difficult to understand
  • Has spelling and grammatical errors


Covers a similar subject to your search question

  • Is too detailed
  • Is too general
  • Relates to a country or region outside the scope of information need


  • Presents a balanced view
  • Acknowledges other 'sides' to argument
  • Presents a biased view
  • Expresses opinions as if they were facts


  • Uses an appropriate communication medium
  • Uses a representative sample size
  • Uses a method that is poorly designed
  • Uses a very small sample and generalises finding to the wider population


  • Comes from a professional journal
  • Is published by a well known voluntary organisation
  • No author information
  • Is produced by a company with a vested interest in the research


  • Is of a time relevant to your need
  • Is the most up-to-date information available
  • No publication date
  • Has been superseded by new research


You are the manager of a residential care home and are reviewing the way residents are cared for at night. You want to find some guidance on night-time care to meet the needs of your staff and residents. You find a report on the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website ( called Supporting older people in care homes at night (Kerr et al., 2008).

    You evaluate it and note that:
  1. The report comes from a reliable source - Joseph Rowntree Foundation is a charity with a history of research output relating to social care and social policy. The site has a useful 'About Us' page and a publications area so you can see what else they have produced.
  2. The report was written in April 2008 so you know it is up to date.
  3. The study included three care homes so its findings are not based on just one home.
  4. Research findings are clearly summarised but there is also a detailed account of the study and the project, including contact information for further information.
  5. The report provides clearly explained recommendations for staff, relatives and residents.

Based on your evaluation, you conclude that the information you have found is reliable and you are comfortable using it in planning the changes you want to make to your service.

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