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 .gc.ca 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.