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How to find information: Evaluation and use of resources

Tips for seeking information.

Evaluating the search results

It is possible that your search doesn't succeed at once. It is important to try different search terms and several ways to combine them.

1. If there are too many search results

  • refine your search terms by using more specific terms or limit your search by using more search terms (use AND operator between the terms)
  • narrow your search by language and publication time
  • move truncation symbol to the right

2. If there are too few search results

  • look for new search terms
  • use synonyms (OR operator between the terms)
  • try other information resources (databases)
  • delete limit options you have used
  • move truncation symbol to the left

3. If there are no search results at all

  • check the spelling
  • check the logic on how you have combined search terms
  • check if the database is suitable for you topic

Ask for help at the library or make an appointment with an information specialist.

Evaluating information - check at least these

The evaluation of information is an essential part of information seeking process. The more you do it, the more you become skilled in it.

Pay attention to these matters for instance:

  • the reliability and objectivity of the information - who is the the author or publisher?
  • the relevance of the information - can you adopt and use the information?
  • the accessibility of the information - do you need special skills or resources to access the information?
  • the currency of the information - when was the information published?

Evaluating internet sources

You should study information from the internet critically and compare it with other information sources. The origin, purpose, objectivity and currency of the information are important criteria when evaluating internet sources.

1. Who is the author of the document?

  • Are the author's credentials given? Do you find them easily?
  • Is the author or organization well-known?
  • Is the author or organization famous for publishing professional or research information?

2. What is the text's purpose and point of view?

  • Is the purpose or intensions given? To whom the information is directed?
  • Is the text a research? Check the structure, sources, researcher's position.
  • Does the text base on research? Applied or summarized.
  • Is the text objective or does it push the interests of a certain group? Opinions, comments, point of views.
  • Does the text include presentation or sale? Brochure, advertisement.

3. When was the information created?

  • Is the information up-to-date? Requirements for your topic?
  • How long-lasting is the information? Requirements for your topic?

What is research?

A research publication has certain characteristics:

  • research articles and publications usually have a common organization structure IMRaD
  • The author is a researcher or specialist
  • The research is published as a book in a scientific publication series (doctoral thesis, report, survey) OR
  • The research is published in edited article proceedings (research article) OR
  • The research is published in a scientific journal (research article)

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