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Evaluate resources

How to evaluate resources

When looking for material for your university assignments it is important to evaluate the reliability, quality, and usefulness of your research material. Using material written by experts in the field is the best way to make sure that you have the right information. You will also need to use various types of information (sources). It's helpful to know what these types are and how they are produced, so that you can make smart choices about to use (and what not to)!

The interactive activity below shows a timeline of how common information sources are created. Timing is one facet of understanding and evaluating different information sources.

 

That covers when the resource was published. You also need to think about:

  • Is the information relevant? Using inappropriate material may impact the validity of the research that you are presenting.
  • Is the author an expert in the field?
  • Has the author used reliable sources and presented information in a non-bias way?
  • Has the material been peer-reviewed?
  • Who owns the website? URLs can help with this: .edu - an academic institution, .gov a government organisation, .org non-profit organisations.

One model that's often used to evaluate the quality of web-based material is CRAAP, which stands for: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Find out more by watching this video: