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Business Sources: How to Evaluate Them

General Due Diligence

Not all information sources are created equal, whether online, in print, on the free web, a library subscription or via a fee based database.  Regardless of the medium, you will be expected to do due diligence on the sources you rely on.  Due diligence is a routine but critical stage of any merger or acquisition that involves probing, examining and evaluating all aspects of a target company.  Without effective due diligence, mergers and acquisitions often fail to deliver the expected payoff.  If you do not vet the sources used in business plans and proposals, they too are likely to fall flat.

  • Research the authors credentials and expertise by searching for degrees, certifications, affiliations and other publications.
  • Research the reputation of the issueing agency or author by searching news organizations that cite or rely on the source.
  • Do an internal document analysis.  Are data sources documented?  Are methods for gathering data and analysing it described? Are links broken?
  • Ascertain the financial health and longevity of the organization by checking business directories.
  • Find another source that restates or supports data provided.  Can your source be corroborated?
  • Consider the currency of the source.  Whether the resource is current enough or too dated to use is dependent on the intended use. 
  • Probe the source for it's intended purpose.  Recognize how the intended purpose may result in bias rendering the source unsuitable for use.

Typical Business Sources on the Internet


White Papers

User Generated Content

Aggregrated Content

Born Digital Trade News

lhauck Linda Hauck
Business Librarian
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 222

General Guides to Web Site Evaluation

Evaluating Information Found on the Internet From Johns Hopkins University Library

Evaluating Web Sites: Criteria and Tools From Cornell University Library


Last Modified: Wednesday, March 7th, 2012