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Study skills

Evaluating resources

Evaluating resources is an important part of your course. Our guide takes you through how to critically evaluate successfully.

Evaluating information will begin by establishing why you need the resource. These pointers should be seen as hints and tips for quickly evaluating whether a resource is useful for your piece of academic work.

Who has written it?

Is there a named author?

Can you find out more about the author? What else have they published? Are they affiliated to a particular company, charity or university?

Are there contact details for the author?

Why has it been written?

Who is the intended audience; academic, professional, or general public?

What is the purpose of the resource? To inform, educate, argue, promote? Can you detect a bias?

Whose voice is being expressed?  The authors? Does the author claim to speak for others? Under what authority?

Is a sponsor evident?

When was the resource written?

Is this a recent piece, and what counts as recent in your subject?

If viewing online, is a 'last updated' date included?

Are any links in the resource still active?

How does it compare to other resources on the same topic; are there more recent pieces of information available?

Does the resource give you references to follow up?

Is it clear where information given within the resource comes from?

Are there references at the end of the text that you can follow up?

Double-check the information given

Is there another website that also considers the topic? How do they compare?

Is the subject covered on a fact-checking site such as Full Fact? (Remember to check the agenda of fact-checking sites too!)

Evaluation of information guide(.docx, 17kB)

Evaluation of information guide(PDF, 0.1MB)

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