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Evaluating sources of information and media - Skills Guide: Home

Evaluating sources of information

What are evaluation skills?

Information is available at the click of a button ‘on demand’, unlimited in its quantity, and seemingly free. In addition, much more is available through subscription and in print. Having this quantity of information available to us all is extremely useful when we are researching a topic, but it does make quality much more difficult to discern.

Evaluation skills are about having knowledge of different types of information sources so that you can identify them (eg. What they look like and what features they have, what kind of content they contain, where they are found, what format they are in), and being able to ask critical questions to assess their quality (eg. Who authored the content? Is the content evidence based or opinion based? What purpose is it written for? Where have they published it and why in that format?).

Why do I need to learn about evaluation skills?

Being able to evaluate the quality of the sources of information you find is an essential academic and life skill, as it can help you to improve your critical thinking and reading abilities. If you improve your evaluation skills, then the quality of the information you find and use will increase.

Reasons to learn and improve your information evaluation skills:

  • To develop a deeper and more accurate understanding of your subject.
  • To be able to identify credible, valid and quality information.
  • To improve your chances of gaining higher grades.

How do I do it?

Watch the video lecture on the right-hand side to get an overview of what is involved in evaluating sources of information, and how to avoid 'fake news'. Click on the 'Evaluating sources' tab above for detailed advice.

Resources

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