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General resources useful to IPRO courses.

Evaluating Information Video

Evaluation Criteria

Whenever we find a source, whether through Google or a library database, we always want to evaluate it to determine if we can use it for our research paper or project. Some of the things we want to consider include:

  • Relevancy: Is it related to your research question? Does it fit in with the assignment requirements - for example, if you need peer-reviewed sources, is it peer-reviewed?
  • Purpose: Why was this source created? Is it intended to persuade, or sell a product? Is it a news report?
  • Credibility: Who are the authors? How do you know they are qualified to write about this topic? Who is the publisher? If this is a website, how do you know who wrote and published it?
  • Currency: When was this published? Is that current enough for your research?
  • Bias: How is this piece biased? Note that all sources will be biased in some way, so it is more important to recognize how much bias a source has, and what kind of bias.

When thinking about things like bias or credibility, lateral reading, or reading outside of a source to learn more about it, can be really useful. Lateral reading can help us see what others have to say about a source.

Imagine you're trying to decide whether or not to eat at a restaurant. You might look at the restaurant's website to look at their menu or find their hours, but you also might look up outside reviews on Google or Yelp to see how good the food is, or figure out whether their service is good. Looking up those outside reviews would be a form of lateral reading!