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Assessing and selecting: Introduction

Part of the Information Literacy Portal

Infoclip: Assessing and selecting

Source: NCSU Libraries 
The video is published under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license 

Introduction: Assessing

Assessing information is not always that easy. There is a lot of biased, incorrect and misleading information. For your assignments you have to use relevant and reliable sources. But how do you determine this? In this LibgGuide we will give you guidelines to assess different sources. The most important criteria to assess your sources are relevance and reliability/credibility.

Criteria to assess

Relevance: the extent to which the information contributes to answering the (research) question. This concerns both main and sub-questions.
In the assessment you pay attention to:

  • Content and level
  • Form
  • Date of publication

Reliability/credibility: the extent to which you can be confident that the information is correct.
In the assessment you pay attention to:

  • The source (author / organization) and creator of the document
  • Content: this concerns correctness, objectivity, verifiability and quality of the information source

Assess books

How to determine the value and credibility of a book? Titles on your (required) reading list are already approved by your institute or library.
The author is probably a known and respected expert. The content is presumably appropriate for your curriculum.
But how do you judge a book yourself? Like mentioned before: pay attention to relevance and reliability/credibility.

Look up the example under the relevant tab.

Assess journal articles

Assessing an article is very similar to judging a book. Yet there are differences.

• If topicality is important for your research, be extra critical when assessing journals. Magazines and journals are usually aimed at delivering up-to-date information. New information is quickly available via (scientific) journals. They often appear weekly or monthly.
• Collation review (peer review) can play a role in evaluating an article. A peer-reviewed article has already been assessed for quality by several specialists.

Look up the example under the relevant tab.

Assess websites: why?

Everyone can publish on the internet. This means that a lot of reliable, but also a lot of misleading, incorrect or fake information, can be found. There is often no quality control by an editorial team or colleagues. With information that you get from the internet you have to be extra critical (See also: Information sources)

Commercial interests can play a role. That's why you have to pay close attention to the independence and origin of websites.

In addition, the enormous amount of information on the web is relatively easy to search with search engines (see also: Search tools). These search engines, however, do NOT lead to all information on the web. Especially scientific information remains largely hidden from search engines in the deep web.

Look up the example under the relevant tab.

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