After you have found your sources, we want to highlight why it is important to assess the quality of your sources. The quality and relevance of a source are not measured by what type of source it is (see the previous page) but heavily rely on who wrote the information down, what was the purpose of publishing the information in the first place, and does it actually fit your need regarding your research. The knowledge clips and texts you find here will give you several criteria and guidelines for assessing your sources on the basis of these criteria.
In your search for literature and other sources, you will find all sorts of information, but this information is not always accurate or of good quality. It is important to develop a critical eye that will enable you to evaluate the material properly.
Relevance: The extent to which the information contributes to answering the search question.
When assessing, pay attention to:
Content and level
Reliability: the degree to which you can trust that the information is correct.
When assessing, pay attention to:
The source (author/organization) and the creation of the document
Content: the accuracy, objectivity, verifiability, and quality of the information source
In order to practice these skills you can find worksheets below.
When is information relevant?
Information is relevant when the information contributes to answering the research question or context. You assess the information found on content, level, and timeliness.
Questions about the relevance of information on content and level
You can ask the following questions about how the information meets your needs.
Helpful questions about the relevance of information on topicality
Questions you can ask about the timeliness of the information.
NB! An older book or article may be current to your topic!
When is information reliable?
The reliability of information sources is about the degree to which you can trust that the information is accurate. You judge the information found on the authority of the source, the accuracy of the information, and the purpose of the information.
Reliability questions: the source of information
Additional questions reliability of information: the reason the information exists
Additional questions information reliability: on the accuracy and verifiability of information
In this video, the CRAAP test is used to see whether a source can be useful or not. However, the first letter here is not a C for Currency, it is here replaced by the letter T for timeliness which both refers to the same thing when scrutinizing your sources.
ANU Library. (2020, May 20). Evaluating information sources [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_ZbckRPCpQ
This video gives a clear explanation of how to assess sources using the CRAAP test
McMaster Libraries. (2015, January 23). How library stuff works: How to evaluate resources (the CRAAP test) [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_M1-aMCJHFg
Gumber Library. (2016, July 22). Reading for research [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFTY5jR7E3A
Sketchy EBM. (2015, August 10). How I read a paper! [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSEP2T-xz8g
De Jager-Loftus, D. (2014, January 31). Annotated Bibliography Lesson Part 1 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rsNakv8PNY