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Evaluating Sources: Welcome

Learn tools you can use to evaluate information.

Video: Why Can't I Just Google?

The World Wide Web can give you some good starting points for your research but it is not enough.

Learn why you can't just google for sources.

La Trobe University Library (2010) Why can't I just Google? Available at: https://youtu.be/N39mnu1Pkgw (Accessed: 11 September 2020).

Video: How to Spot Fake News - FactCheck.org

Fake news are false stories that appear to be news, spread on the internet or using other media, usually created to influence opinions or political views, or as a joke.

Learn how you can shield yourself from the fake news.

FactCheck (2016) How to spot fake news - FactCheck.org. Available at: https://youtu.be/AkwWcHekMdo (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

Video: Everybody Can Make Deepfakes Now!

Deepfake is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network.
Deepfakes challenge the idea of visual truth by presenting intentionally false videos, usually on a platform that can be seen by multiple people. Deepfakes can be used to create fake news and malicious hoaxes.

The following video expalins how it works.

Two Minute Papers (2020) Everybody can make deepfakes now! Available at: https://youtu.be/mUfJOQKdtAk (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

Help & Support

Contact us at library@uws.ac.uk or via the Self Service Portal.

Evaluating

Evaluating is about determining and assessing the quality of the information you find. It encourages you to think critically about the reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, point of view or bias of information sources.

This guide will equip you with tools you can use to evaluate information. Use the tabs above or the links below to navigate:

  • The Basics
    We'll show you the simple questions you can ask yourself when assessing any piece of information, whether at university or elsewhere.
  • CRAAP Test
    Know how to check for for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose.
  • Test Yourself
    Check your critical thinking with activities and games.

If you want to go further you can look at these external sites that will detail some alternative evaluation tools that you might find useful:

  • PROMPT
    Learn the PROMPT mnemonic (Presentation, Relevance, Objectivity, Method, Provenance, Timeliness) providing a structured approach to critical evaluation of information.
  • SPAT
    Learn about a research tested mnemonic tool evaluating the reliability of a website's content.
  • CASP
    Learn about the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tools which can support you in finding and making sense of research and research evidence.

Why Evaluate?

It should be second nature to everyone and is an important part of your academic writing and research. Don't be afraid to question sources - websites, books, articles, videos, statistics etc. If in doubt, don't use them.

  • Just because a book, an article or a website matches your search criteria and seems to be relevant to your research, does not mean that it is a reliable source of information.

  • Putting information on the World Wide Web is fast, cheap and can be done by anyone with internet access.

  • We live in a world of misinformation.

Top Tips

  • Use Your Academic Library, because it is our responsibility to ensure that all of the resources and materials we provide are high quality.

  • Use One Search to find different types of materials.
  • Use the Library Databases to find good quality sources.
  • Use Google Scholar rather than Google.
  • Learn how and where to find information.
  • Consult Academic Librarians.
  • Always evaluate your sources.
  • Always cite your sources.
  • Reuse content ethically.
  • Pause and think before you use or share information.

Reports to Consult

National Literacy Trust (2018) Fake news and critical literacy: the final report of the Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy in Schools. Available at: https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/fake-news-and-critical-literacy-final-report/ (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

Wineburg, S., McGrew, S., Breakstone, J. and Ortega, T. (2016) Evaluating information: the cornerstone of civic online reasoning. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/fv751yt5934 (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

Talk to Us

We want to hear and learn from you. Please complete the poll below.

Where do you go first to find information?
Google: 156 votes (57.78%)
Google Scholar: 45 votes (16.67%)
Wikipedia: 4 votes (1.48%)
Social Media: 0 votes (0%)
University Library: 25 votes (9.26%)
One Search from the University Library: 16 votes (5.93%)
Databases from the University Library: 13 votes (4.81%)
Colleagues: 0 votes (0%)
Lecturers: 8 votes (2.96%)
Academic Librarians: 3 votes (1.11%)
Total Votes: 270

Talk to Us

We want to hear and learn from you. Please complete the poll below.

What is the most important to you when evaluating sources for academic writing and research?
Currency - the timeliness of information: 10 votes (4.5%)
Relevance - the importane of the information for your needs: 66 votes (29.73%)
Authority - the source of the information: 37 votes (16.67%)
Accuracy - the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content: 99 votes (44.59%)
Purpose - the reason the information exists: 5 votes (2.25%)
I don't evaluate sources: 5 votes (2.25%)
Total Votes: 222

Video: Be Aware Online 'Filter Bubbles'

Learn how we get trapped in a 'filter bubble' and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.

Pariser, E. (2011) Be aware online 'filter bubbles' [TED]. Available at: https://tinyurl.com/y2l5f2dn (Accessed: 15 September 2020).

Books to Consult

Cottrell, S. (2017) Critical thinking skills : effective analysis, argument and reflection. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cottrell, S. (2019) The study skills handbook. London: Red Globe Press.

Prince, E. S. (2019) 7 skills for the future: adaptability, critical thinking, empathy, integrity, optimism, being proactive, resilience. Harlow: Pearson Business.

Copyright Statement

Creative Commons License
This work in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.