5. Evaluating information

Before using any information you have found for an assignment, you must evaluate the information source. 

Learning how to determine the relevance and quality of the information is one of the most important skills in research.

Video player icon Watch this video on Criteria for evaluating information (LinkedIn Learning, 3m39s).

There are many different factors to consider when determining the quality of your information.

  • Author: Is there an author? Is it a person or organisation?  What are their credentials and qualifications in the topic area?
  • Date: Does the information source have a date? Is the date relevant to the type of information you are looking for i.e. recent/up-to-date breakthroughs or historical?
  • Type of information and scope: Does the information tie in with other information you have found on the topic? Are conclusions well drawn?  Is the level of the document suitable to your needs?
  • Purpose: Who is the intended audience? Is it self-published? Does it support an official group?
  • Writing style: Is it well written? Is the format and length appropriate?
  • Language used: Is the language elementary, serious, sensational?
  • Bibliography: Have references been used?

The video takes you through the CRAAP test on checking content for

  • Currency
  • Relevancy
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose


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