Detailed 'how to' for using PASS for evaluating an information source.
P - Purpose:
preface, introduction, table of contents.
- Why was this item created and published? To inform, educate, sell,
advertise, promote? Is there a hidden agenda?
- Who do the authors wish to reach with this information? Why?
- Is the purpose fulfilled? How well?
Web: Look at
the Domain name in the URL. Commercial, Education site?
Be aware of a tilde ~ in the web address this indicates
a personal web site.
Check for mission statements and agendas at domain name
Go back in the Path to check for a title page listing
Articles: Read abstract,
introduction, conclusions. Pictures, graphs, layout can help you determine
A - Authority:
Paper: Check the
title page and/or dust jacket for author's credentials. Use a biographical
reference work to find out more about the author ie
Scientist web pages.
- Who is responsible for this work – author, publisher?
- Is the author an ‘expert’ in this field? Why is the author an
- Is the publisher reputable?
- When was it written or last updated? Is the information current,
Check the verso of the title page for copyright date.
Look for a review of the item.
Check sample entries (ones in which you are
knowledgeable) for currency, accuracy, objectivity/fairness. Note racial,
religious, sexual, political bias.
Web: Look for
author's credentials. Check for personal home page, e-mail signature lines,
previous publications, other activities. Use different search engines to search
for the author.
Check the domain name 'publisher' to check publisher
authority. Use a domain name search option to search for other items on this
site that relate to the author.
Check other sites to see if they link to this page?
Look for any indication of the 'last update'.
Check links on this page to see if they work.
Articles: Check article citations/references
within the article are they valid, timely, do they come from more than one
author or is the author/s just citing themselves. If possible check to see if
this article has been cited by other authors.
S - Scope:
Paper: Check the
table of contents, preface, and page through to determine scope.
- What is the scope of this work? What information is covered? What are
the subject parameters? What is the time frame, place and language used for
- What are the limits of this work?
- Who is the intended audience – children (what ages), adults, laymen,
hypertext links to establish scope of work. Look/listen to content to establish
scope. Go back in the path to a beginning page check for possible contents note.
Articles: What is the reading level of this
article is it appropriate for the intended audience. As you read an article
think about the above questions.
S - Selected
or Sample Entries:
up 2 or 3 topics with which you are familiar. Try to verify the same information
in another source. Does it look
professional? Beware of bells and whistles.
- How is the work put together? What is the arrangement of the work?
- What is included in a typical entry? Does it seem to cover the subject?
Is the information correct?
- What does it look like? What other elements are included? Graphics?
Sound? Video? Charts? Searching options?
- How accurate, current, unbiased are the entries ?
- Are conflicting points of view presented on controversial issues?
- Is it the material appropriate for you audience and your intended use?
- Be careful to look at what is said not just how it looks!
the above questions as you read the article. Is it well written and
understandable (Use a subject dictionary if you find unfamiliar words).
Does the information PASS the test? Will it
work for your purpose? Have you considered your own bias?
Created by Theresa Borchert 6-10-1998 Last
Send comments or corrections to email@example.com
Carl B. Ylvisaker Library,
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