Lunds University

Assessing

It is important to assess the information you find in a scrutinizing way. You should ask yourself:

  • Is the information relevant for the subject?
  • Is the level of the information adequate – not too general, not too specific?
  • Have you retrieved enough information – or too much?

Is the information reliable?

Who wrote the text?
Is it a scientist, a journalist, or is this information about the author missing? If you do not know who the author is, then it could be a good idea to make a google search for the name.

 

Who published it?
Is it an article published in a scientific journal, a book published by a renowned publisher, or a page at a university website?
Or is it an article published in a technical journal, a publication from a political party, or a page from the website of a special interest organization?

 

When is the text written?
Just because a text is of recent date, it does not mean that it is true. It is important to know when a text is written. A text regarding the latest research in biotechnology should not be too old. An eye witness description of a historical event, such as the Stockholm bloodbath for example, should however originate from the correct period of time, in this case the 16th century.

 

What is the purpose of the text?
Is it intended to describe research results in a scientific or popular scientific way? Does it want to persuade us to think about the environment, vote for a party, or buy a product?
No text is entirely objective; we must always consider why it has been written.

 

Is the information available in more than one source?
Can you find the same information in different sources

Last updated: July 11, 2011
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