Information essentials

Aims and objectives

This module will:

  • introduce you to different kinds of information and where to find them
  • give advice on search strategies
  • help you to evaluate information.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • develop a search strategy to find the best information for your needs
  • find different kinds of information using different tools
  • evaluate information you find.

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.

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?

Read Evaluate information you find and watch the video on Evaluating information sources.

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

  • Currency
  • Relevancy
  • Authority
  • Accuracy 
  • Purpose
Read the following three articles. Using the CRAAP test, which one is a reliable source?
Click to open the answer.
The reliable article was 'Man eating teddy bears of the scrub'!
You can tell that 'Indirect tracking of drop bears using GNSS technology' isn't reliable by looking at the references section where a lot of the citations are jokes that have been made up. You can tell that 'Drop bears target tourists, study says' isn't reliable because it was published on April Fool's day and has a disclaimer at the bottom of the article saying that it was a joke.

Duration:   Approximately 30 minutes

Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

 Critical judgement

 Independence and creativity

Check your knowledge

Check what you know about this topic:

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