Evaluating a source of information involves asking critical questions about its suitability within the context of the research need.
After this module, you should be able to:
- Identify indicators of authority to determine the credibility of information sources
- Evaluate the relevance of a source for a particular research need, based on considerations of currency, accuracy, and purpose
This module should take roughly 15 minutes to complete. You will be able to revisit the text and activity portions as many times as you like; however, you will only have one opportunity to do the quiz, linked in Moodle, at the end of each part.
Use the arrows at the bottom of each page to move forward and backward through the modules. Or, use the Contents menu in the top left hand corner to go to a particular section.
At this point in your research, you’ve likely found several sources of information that might work for your assignment. Now it’s time to take a closer look at these sources and make sure they are the best fit. This is true of information you find in a general Google search, as well as the library resources. Whether you are considering a blog post or a journal article, you will need to pay attention to several factors, including not just the expertise of the author, but also the purpose, quality and relevance of the information, before deciding whether or not to include it in your assignment.
The bottom line is that most experienced searchers view the information they find with a degree of skepticism as well as an open mind.
There are many checklists available to help guide you through this critical process; you may have heard of the CRA(A)P test, RADAR, or something similar. All of these are essentially devices to help novice researchers remember the criteria by which they should evaluate the information they find.
The following list is meant to be a starting point for you to develop your own, internalized set of questions.
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