The CCOW method is useful for remembering different approaches for evaluating sources. Consider this as a way of thinking more than a checklist for thinking and can be used when evaluating information and sources.
- What's their educational background? Do they have an advanced degree in the subject under discussion?
- What's their occupation? Do they work in a field that qualifies them to talk about the subject?
- Do they have any other experience that might make them a good source of information? For instance, an eyewitness to an earthquake doesn't have to be a seismologist to give good information about what it was like to experience that event.
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
- Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
- What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
- Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
- Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
- Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
- Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
- Who are the authors writing this for?
- Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
- Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
- What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
- Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?