Presentation on theme: "Shelly Warwick, MLS, Ph.D.. 2013 – Permission is granted to reproduce and edit this work for non-commercial educational use as long as attribution is provided."— Presentation transcript:
Shelly Warwick, MLS, Ph.D.. 2013 – Permission is granted to reproduce and edit this work for non-commercial educational use as long as attribution is provided and the edited work is also available under the same terms of license.
After the Unit You should Be able to: State the criteria for evaluating resources Apply those criteria to information resources (articles, webpages, books)
Getting the Best Information When you do a search you should be looking for not just good information but the best possible information – and definitely not just some information.
How to Evaluate Information One easy to remember acronym for evaluation is CCRAP – with the criteria and acronym being: C urrency C ompleteness R eliability A uthority P urpose/Point of View
CURRENCY When was the resource published or (for websites) updated? Beware of websites that don’t provide this information. Is the date recent enough for your to think this is most current information? How current information needs to be will depend on your topic. For example if it concerns treatment for cancer or AIDS or another topic which is being strongly researched you might information published in the last year or even six months For topics which wouldn’t have a great deal of current research, such as measles or polio, you might have to go back five or ten years or even further.
COMPLETENESS Does the information found cover all the important aspects of the topic? Does it provide information in useful detail? This is one of the hardest areas to evaluate, because without knowing more about the topic it is difficult to judge how complete a source is. You might try asking yourself if you still have questions about the topic that the source hasn’t answered.
Reliability This essentially asks if you can trust the information. A good way to evaluate reliability is to see if the resource provides references as to the source of the information or details on how the information was discovered if new knowledge If references are included - look at the dates of publication and the types of materials cited, are they recent scholarly works or out-of-date or popular sources?
Authority This is essentially the “Sez who?” question. Is the person(s) providing the information someone to be trusted to provide accurate information? Is this a well-known researcher/practitioner in this area? Is this opinion or fact based? Since most of us don’t know the major scholars in all areas of a field it is generally okay to use the publisher or source as a marker for authority So more weight/authority would be accorded a medical text published by Lippincott or McGraw-Hill than one from an unknown publisher or one that is self-published Likewise (because of the peer review process and their stature) more trust should be given articles in JAMA or Nature or Science, than those in Prevention or even articles in reputable but not as highly cited journals.
Purpose and Point of View The basic question to ask is “why was this written/posted”? Is it to: share knowledge (provide information)? Influence opinion? Sell a product? There is nothing inherently wrong with trying to sell products or influence opinion, but it often leads to the presentation of one-sided information or even distortion of facts Is it free of unidentified bias? Bias is not always bad, especially if supported by facts, such as data provided by those who think something has to be done about such issues as obesity, gun violence, drug addiction – only when bias leads to distortion of facts is it bad. Beware of those sources that pretend to be a disinterested presentation of facts but are actually are designed to support a point of view.