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Research Process: 5. Evaluate & Analyse

Evaluate

As you gather sources, be critical about the information you include in your finished product. Select the most reliable sources that do the best job of answering your research question. Use the following criteria as a guide:

General criteria

 

Internet sources

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Author/
Source

What are the author's credentials and affiliations?

Is the publisher or journal known and reputable?

Is information about the author/creator easy to find?

Is there an "About" page or contact information provided?

What ending does the web address have? (For example: .org.edu.com)

Accuracy

Does the author provide references to support his/her statements?


Is the source peer-reviewed? (Has the information been verified by other professionals or researchers in the field?)

Does the website have any disclaimers waiving responsibility for the information?

Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?

Currency

How current does your information need to be?

What is the publication date?

Is the information outdated?

Does the article or website have a publication date?

Has the website been updated recently?

Do all of the links work?

Coverage

Who is the audience: the general public, professionals, or researchers?


Is the information general or in-depth?

Does the website provide links to relevant outside sources?

Point of View

Is the information balanced and without bias?

Does the author have a specific goal or objective? (For example: to persuade, to entertain, to inform?)

Why was the website created?

Are there paying sponsors or advertisements on the website?

Analyse

Look for patterns, connections, trends, and generalizations in the information. A visual organizer, such as a cause and effect map or compare and contrast map, may help you group together information in meaningful ways and draw conclusions. Make sure your conclusions are supported by evidence from your research.

Examples:

Video

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Advanced Research Tools (04:02)

From: Effective Internet Search: Basic Tools and Advanced Strategies. Films Media Group, 2011. Films On Demand. Web.