A significant, though under appreciated, element of research is evaluated the information that is uncovered by your research. Below you can find a quick tool to help with the process.
Also, it is important to remember that the evaluation of information shouldn't stop at scholarly pursuits, but be maintained when consuming information on current events. Many of the same techniques will apply.
T - Timeliness: How current is the information?
- When was the information published?
- Have more recent editions been published?
- Has more current research on the topic been published?
R - Relevant: Does this information relate to the topic you are researching?
- Does this information help guide you to a hypothesis?
- Is this information too general to help with your research? Is it, perhaps, too detailed?
A - Authority: What/Who is the source of the information?
- What are the author's credentials?
- Is the author an expert on the topic? Have they published other research on the topic?
- Is the work peer-reviewed or refereed? (Check UlrichsWeb to determine the status of the periodical)
A - Accuracy: Is this information reliable?
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information cited?
- Do other, similar publications on the topic provide reasonably similar information?
P - Purpose: Why was this information created?
- Is the information intended to inform, persuade, entertain, or sell?
- Who is the intended audience? Is the information presented for the general public or for a scholarly audience?
- Are there any perspectives or scenarios omitted from the publication? Why would this be the case?
"The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.