Evaluation Refined

Student Dialog - Refining Your Process

Brian and Deena talking to each other.

Brian: All right, I was just checking my schedule and I need to get going. So, are we about finished?

Deena: Yeah, I think we've just about covered everything.

Brian: Great! Then I'm leaving.

Deena: Not so fast, Brian. I want to make sure we're all going to use what we've talked about. I think we can refine those preliminary evaluation processes a little. You remember, currency, relevancy, clarity, and authority.

Brian: Yeah, I remember those.

Once you have done a preliminary search, how do you decide what sources, references, citations, etc. do you use? You should examine carefully the content of your sources. If your source is a book, read the preface and introduction in order to analyze the intentions of the author or authors. Check out the index and table of contents to get a sense or overview of what the book covers. Determine if there are chapters that speak directly to your research interest. If the source is a journal, read the abstract or editor's comments.

Remember the categories of Currency, Relevancy, Clarity, and Authority from your preliminary evaluation process? Refining that process leads to a more effective evaluation of potential sources for use in your research. You should develop your own guidelines that work for you as you proceed through higher education, but here are some additional questions that will help you practice evaluating your sources.