Evaluating the authority, usefulness, and reliability of resources is a crucial step in developing a literature review that effectively covers pertinent research as well as demonstrates to the reader that you know what you're talking about. The process of evaluating scholarly materials also enhances your general skills and ability to:
Black, Thomas R. Evaluating Social Science Research: An Introduction. London: Sage, 1993.
Web Content Requires Additional Methods of Evaluation
A report from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education found that students evaluating information that flows across social media channels or retrieved from online search engines like Google or Bing, have difficulty distinguishing advertisements from news articles or how to identity where the content came from. In general, the principles that guide your evaluation of print materials are the same that apply to evaluating online resources. However, unlike print materials that have certain features that help determine their scholarly integrity, the interactive and multimedia dynamics of online sources requires additional attention to the content in order to obtain confidence that what you are viewing is valid and credible.
Additional things to look for when considering using an online resource:
Evaluating Internet Information. Online Library Learning Center. University of Georgia; Evaluating Internet Sources: A Library Resource Guide. Olsen Library. Northern Michigan University; Evaluating Sources. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Evaluating Web Sites. Teaching and Learning Services, University of Maryland Libraries; Ostenson, Jonathan. “Skeptics on the Internet: Teaching Students to Read Critically.” The English Journal 98 (May, 2009): 54-59; Stanford History Education Group. "Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning." Stanford, CA: Graduate School of Education, 2016; Writing from Sources: Evaluating Web Sources. The Reading/Writing Center. Hunter College.
Bias, whether done intentionally or not, occurs when a statement reflects a partiality, preference, or prejudice for or against an object, person, place, or idea. Listed below are problems to look for when determining if the source is biased.
NOTE: The act of determining bias in scholarly research is also an act of constant self-reflection. Everyone has biases. Therefore, it is important that you minimize the influence of your own biases by approaching the assessment of another person's research introspectively and with a degree of self-awareness.
"Availability Bias, Source Bias, and Publication Bias in Meta-Analysis." In Methods of Meta-Analysis: Correcting Error and Bias in Research Findings. 3rd Edition. (London: SAGE Publications, 2015), pp. 513-551; "Bias." In Key Concepts in Social Research. Geoff Payne and Judy Payne. (London: SAGE Publications, 2004), pp. 28-31; Evaluating Sources. Lakeland Library Research Guides. Lakeland Community College; Podsakoff, Philip M. et al. “Common Method Biases in Behavioral Research: A Critical Review of the Literature and Recommended Remedies.” Journal of Applied Psychology 88 (October 2003): 879-903; Stereotypes and Biased Language. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Bias in Survey Sampling. Stat Trek Online Tutorials; What is Availability Bias? InnovateUs.net.