By the end of this module, you should be able to:
As we conduct research, it is important to evaluate the information. Even if the author is an expert in the field, we should view everything through a critical lens. To look at information critically means you approach it like a “critic”. You must question, analyze, and contextualize your sources in order to make a decision about their value and appropriateness.
The CARS Checklist (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support) is an approach to evaluating information. By learning to use the criteria in this list, you will be much more likely to separate the high-quality information from the poor quality information. (Please note that not all sources will meet every criteria)
Credibility: concerns the reliability of the information you are reading, both the author’s credentials, and the quality of the writing itself.
Accuracy: concerns the quality of the information being presented, essentially is the information timely, factual, and would it be considered comprehensive in scope.
Reasonableness: concerns the objectivity of the information that is being presented?
Support: concerns the reliability, accuracy, and support of the information being presented.
Some techniques that you can apply to active reading (from The Open University):
Peer-reviewed journals are academic research journals that contain articles in which an editorial committee has reviewed articles for submission without knowing the authors (blind review).
To confirm that a journal is peer-reviewed look for submission and acceptance dates for an article, or at the cover info of the journal to determine the presence of an editorial board or committee.
Many databases provide the option to limit to scholarly /academic/ peer-reviewed journals during the search process.
Scholarly articles are not found in newspapers or popular magazines. If your topic is current there may be few.
Academic/scholarly journals can also be recognized by other characteristics:
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