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Information Literacy

How to find and use information effectively

Evaluating

Evaluating is all about determining and assessing the quality of the information you find.

Most students get their print resources from the Library, and their online and audio-visual resources from both the Library (*paid resources) and the world wide web (free resources).   In the Library it's our responsibility to ensure that all of the resources and materials we provide are high quality, meaning that they are credible, accurate, up-to-date and relevant and there are no issues of authenticity or bias.  But how can you make sure that the free information you find online is of a similar high quality? 

Here are our top tips:

  • Look for sites from trusted institutions or organisations (.ac.uk, .gov.uk and .org.uk sites for example). If you're lucky these might signpost you to other trusted sites.
  • Look for sites that are regularly updated with new content and where authors are clearly attributed.
  • Try to avoid commercial sites (.com, .co.uk or .biz) as these are generally for-profit and could show bias.
  • If the site looks amateurish, the content is anonymous and lots of the links don't work, steer clear!

Check out this short, self-paced tutorial from the Library Service at Cardiff University about choosing and evaluating quality sources.

* By 'paid resources' we mean online resources for which the Library pays a subscription; most of the resources on our A-Z Databases site fall into this category.

Google Scholar, Google and Wikipedia

Google

In this 3-minute video, from the Library at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, Sue asks Why Can't I Just Google?

This resource sheet from TeenTech/IL Group gives you advice on how to make the most of your Google searching.

Wikipedia
This 6-minute video called Wikipedia: Beneath the Surface, by librarians at North Carolina State University, gives a really good overview of how Wikipedia works.

Google Scholar

This 6-minute video called How to use Google Scholar to find Journal Articles, is produced by a postgraduate student at the University of Exeter; it shows you how to effectively make best use of Google Scholar.