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IL Tutorial: C.A.R.S.




Look for a trustworthy source, author's credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, and organizational support. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Is there an author? Is the webpage signed?
  • Is the author qualified?
  • Is the author an expert?
  • Does the author list her occupation, years of experience, position, education or other credentials?
  • Who is the publisher of the material?
  • If there is no web page author, is there a way to determine a sponsor? Look at the URL and consider the domain (.edu, .gov, .com, ...).


Accuracy and Appropriateness

Look for information that is up-to-date, factual, detailed, exact, and comprehensive. The audience and purpose should be appropriate to the information need. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Is the information reliable and error-free?
  • Who is the intended audience for this source -- children, businesses, or college students?
  • Is there an editor or someone who checks the information?
  • Is the material current?
  • Does the web page have a date? When was the last update?
  • How current are the links? Have some expired?



Look for information that is fair, balanced, objective, and reasoned in its presentation. There should be an absence of fallacies or slanted tone and no conflict of interest. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Is the material biased?
  • Is the web page designed to sway your opinion?
  • Is there advertising on the web page?
  • What is the purpose of the author -- to inform, explain, persuade, entertain, sell, hurt, or help?
  • How in-depth is the material?



Look for listed sources, contact information, avaliable corroboration, supported claims, and documentation. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Who is the sponsor of the web page? Is the publisher/sponsor reputable?
  • Is there a link to information about the author or sponsor?
  • Is the web page reviewed or recommended by an outside source?

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