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Intermediate Senior Media and Digital Literacy

RADAR for Evaluating Information

This information has been adapted from: Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470-478. Accessed March 2, 2022. Read the article here.

Use the RADAR framework when using a new source to determine its legitimacy.

Relevance: How is this information relevant to your assignment?

  • Consider your audience
  • Use research questions to determine relevancy

Authority: Who is the author? This can be either a person or an organization.

  • Check credentials - is the author or organization well known?
  • Can you find more information about the publisher or author readily?
  • Check the URL - for example, sites ending in are federal government websites
  • If you doubt the legitimacy of the site - are there links to other helpful or authoritative sources?

Date: When was the information published?

  • Determine if publication date matters for your assignment - if it does, is this information current enough?

Appearance: Appearance is not always the best clue (see All About Explorers for an example of a fake site that looks legitimate), but is the information presented in a serious, professional manner? 

  • Are there citations you can check?
  • Is it written in academic language? 

Reason for Writing: Why was this information published?

  • Is it written to provide a balanced, well-researched opinion?
  • Was it written to oppose other information?
  • Is it heavily biased? *Note: biased or problematic websites or articles can be useful depending on the context - but limitations have to be recognized
  • Was it written to sell something? Or is it satire?

This framework is not the only way to tell if a source is legitimate, but it is a useful starting point for students.