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Access to HE and Foundation Pathways Programme

Evaluating Information

At university, you are expected to use high quality research in your assignments, but with so much information available, particularly online, how do you decide what is appropriate to use?

Evaluating the information sources that you find and use to make sure they are reliable and credible is, therefore, very important. 

Whenever you use a source think about and ask the following:

  • When was the information published? Or last updated? Is your topic something that requires the most current information?
  • Who wrote it (individual, organisation)? Are they an expert on this subject?
  • Why should you use this source? Does the information help you answer your assignment?
  • Where does the information come from? Can I verify the information? Are sources cited? Is there evidence to back up claims?
  • What is the purpose of the information? Does the information appear objective and impartial or without bias?

This is known as the 5 W's and is just one of several tools you can use to help you critically evaluate your sources. Another well known evaluating resource is the CRAAP test, this is very similar to the 5 W's but more memorable! It stands for:

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

The following document looks at the CRAAP test in more detail