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ENG 371 • Literature & Film: Evaluating Information

Library resources and information supporting Dr. Grady's ENG 371 class.

Evaluating Information 

Finding information on a topic for your assignment is the first step when conducting research. It is equally important to evaluate what you have found and determine if it is appropriate for your purpose. This section introduces two such frameworks for evaluating websites:  SIFT: The 4 Moves and RADAR. Both methods include printable worksheets to help guide your evaluation process.

Keep resources in your RADAR

Relevance • Authority • Date • Appearance • Reason


There are a variety of frameworks available to assist with evaluating information, offering guidance for critically reviewing a resource. This is the RADAR method; it features questions you should consider asking when evaluating an information source.


Letter R Relevance

How is this resource relevant to your research assignment?

What does it offer that makes it relevant?


Letter Authority

Who is the author/s? Is it a person, group, or organization?

What credentials make them an authority on the topic?

Does information about site or author authority factor in to your decision of information accuracy?

Does the resource provide additional evidence or links to other research?


Letter D Date

When was the information published?

Are there more timely resources available?

Does the publication date matter to your research?


Letter A Appearance

Does the appearance provide clues to its relevance?

Does it contain advertisements, pictures, or charts?

Does the information contain citations or references?

Does the URL reveal anything about the site, author, or source?

Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?


Letter R Reason for Writing

Why did the author/site publish this information?

What purpose does it serve?

Is the item balanced or well-researched?

Does it add to the existing body of knowledge on the topic?

Was the item written as satire or propaganda?

Is it biased? Are these limitations clearly identified?

Consider SIFTing

Stop • Investigate • Find • Trace Claims


Sift (verb): "to examine something carefully in order to decide what is important or useful or to find something important." - Oxford Learner's Dictionary

 

SIFT Method, or The 4 Moves, was developed by Mike Caulfield to "help students get better at sorting the truth from fiction and everything in-between" (Caufield, 2019).

Beginning with Stop - and continuing through the remaining steps from left to right, each move defines criteria to apply to a website for evaluation.


Letter S Stop

What do you know about the site?

What is the site's reputation?

How are you going to use the information?

Why is the information being shared?


Letter I Investigate

Do you know what you are reading?

Where does the media or information originate?

Can you verify the site or it's information?

Does the URL provide any details?


Letter F Find

Can you find better coverage somewhere else?

Is there someone else making the same or a similar claim?

Review multiple sources, is there a consensus?

Can you find experts in the field?


Letter T Trace Claims

Can you locate the information origin?

Are you seeing everything about the topic?

Has the information been edited or modified?

Compare the original source to your source.

 

 

 

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