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First Nations in Education

Classroom Resources: Evaluation Criteria

When selecting texts or lesson materials to explore Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspectives, knowledge, or histories, educators should critically analyze the content to ensure that it is culturally appropriate and provides accurate representation.

Five key evaluation criteria are recommended based on the Resource Guide for Aboriginal studies and Torres Strait Islander studies (Published by the Curriculum Corporation)

1. Authenticity

2. Balanced nature of the presentation

3. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participation

4. Accuracy and support

5. Exclusion of content of a secret or sacred nature


Based on guidance from UNESCO, the Queensland Museum provides information on inappropriate and appropriate terminology to be aware of when using resources that have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander content:

Appropriate terminology 

Narragunnawali provides a guide to using respectful and inclusive language and terminology.

Terminology guide

General Advice on Evaluating Resources

Be aware that attitudes expressed in books or journals are a reflection of the viewpoints and attitudes toward Indigenous Australian's during the period in which they were written and the writer's political agenda.
The following criteria can be applied to all types of information sources.


  • Consider whether you are looking for recent resources or historical information.
  • Check the date the resource was published, as the resource might be out-of-date.
  • Check if it has been updated (in the form of a new edition or update) to deal with changes in knowledge.


  • Scan the contents of the document or read the abstract.
  • You can also check the subject terms for the document in the library catalogue or database.
  • Are the subjects covered central or peripheral to your topic?

Authority and Reliability

  • Who is the author and what qualifications do they have for writing the document?
  • Are they backed by a reputable or traceable organisation?
  • Who is the publisher?

Audience - who is it intended for?

  • Information that is directed at high school students may not be appropriate for a university essay.
  • Equally, some academic work may be too advanced, specific or specialised for your needs.

Information that does not conform to these criteria is not necessarily flawed or unreliable, but you should use it with caution.