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Thinking critically.

HEAT Stage 2: Finding and managing information.


2.4 Evaluating sources: Thinking critically

 

Thinking critically in order to evaluate the sources you use will help you to select the best sources for your assignment. A good way to do this is by asking the following questions:

Who has written, produced or published the information?

Is the source biased? Can you verify the information presented?

Example: Political broadcasts will argue in favour of a particular idea or political party, and will therefore feature bias. The Office of National Statistics collates information from Government departments, but the statistics are independently recorded and verifiable.

Why have they written it?

What is the purpose of the information? Is the writer or publisher trying to sell me something?

Example:An advertisement will try to persuade you to buy a product.

When was the information written or published?

Is it still useful, and is it likely to be updated?

Example:For some subjects such as Science, it is important to have the most up to date and accurate information. For other subjects such as History or Journalism, accounts of the time are valuable first hand Evidence, and will be essential for your work.

De Montfort University Library's Evaluation Source Matrix provides a useful framework for assessing the sources you use.

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