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Research skills tutorial

Step 5 Example - Evaluate the information you have found

Your assignment topic is "Chocolate can make you happy. Discuss."

You need to evaluate all of the information you have found about the effect of chocolate on humans.  See if you can answer the following questions.

Begin with the author

  • Are they an expert in this field?
  • Have they written other articles or books about this topic?
  • Do they have qualifications in psychology, chemistry or biology?

Look at the publication date

  • How old are the dictionaries and encyclopaedias?  Do you think they are outdated?
  • When were the articles and books written?
  • How old is the information being cited in the articles and books?  Is that information outdated?

Review the content

  • Has it been written in an appropriate language (academic or scholarly)?
  • Does the information seem relevant to your topic?  Does it answer any of your questions or information gaps?

Check for accuracy and validity

  • Are there spelling, grammatical or factual errors?
  • Can you find others who agree with this information?
  • Can you find any of the sources in the list of references?
  • Has the article been peer reviewed?

 Look for bias

  • Has the author left out or ignored information for the opposite point of view?
  • Do other author's agree with the findings or conclusions?
  • Was the research sponsored by an organisation?
  • Has the author written the articles in factual or persuasive language?


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