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Evaluate

You have worked your plan, having found potentially useful material for your research. But is it all suitable?

Any resource whether it be print, human, or electronic must be evaluated for its credibility and reliability. These resources can vary widely in authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage. You must critically evaluate the appropriateness of all types of information sources.

When you look at the print, multimedia and journal materials found through your library the task of evaluation is relatively straightforward because that material has already been checked by librarians for credibility and appropriateness for academic research. However, material found on the Internet may not have gone through any editorial or approval process, and it is is volatile—it changes, can become outdated, or it can even disappear.

The inconsistency and sometimes crude form make web information suspect for people who use it for research. And because there is frequently no quality control over web information, you must critically evaluate all the material you find there, text and graphics alike.

Here are some useful resources on how to evaluate information:

  • Distinguish between scholarly and non-scholarly information with this video from RMIT: