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STEM Academy | Fall 2020

Getting Started

Ask yourself:

  • What are your information needs? (Formulate as questions)
  • What types of sources might best address each of these questions?
  • How important are the criteria for evaluating information to each of your questions?
  • What's the best place to start looking for information?
  • What are the best words and search features to use in your search?

Some criteria to consider when evaluating information

[link to slides]

WHAT is it? 

  • Journal article?

  • Magazine/newspaper article?

  • Book?

  • Website?

  • Video?

  • Conference presentation?

  • Social media post? etc.  

WHO is the intended audience? 

  • Scholars/researchers? 

  • Professionals/practitioners? 

  • General public? 

  • Demographics? 

WHY was this source created? What is its purpose? 

  • To advance scholarship? 

  • To guide people who are employed in this field? 

  • For general education/enlightenment? 

  • For entertainment? 

  • To advocate for a political agenda? 

WHO created this source? (individuals or sponsoring organization)
Tip: For websites, look for an "About" page  

  • Scholars/researchers? 

  • Journalists? 

  • Artists? 

  • Fans/hobbyists? 

  • Think tanks? 

  • Lobbyists? 

  • For-profit organization? 

  • Non-profit organization? 

  • Educational instituion? 

WHAT are the authors’/creators' credentials? Are they appropriate for the source’s nature and audience? 

  • Faculty/researcher at an accredited college/university? 

  • Degree/expertise in field? 

  • Experience in field? 

  • Affiliated with organization that has identifiable agenda? 

WHEN was the information created/published? 

  • Is it important that the information you will be using is current? 

  • How current does it need to be? 

HOW RELIABLE does the information appear to be?  

  • Can claims be verified in other sources?  

  • Are sources of information cited?  

  • Is the source peer-reviewed?  

  • Is there a reputable publisher or sponsoring organization behind the source?