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2020 Evaluating sources


What should you be reading and citing?

The sources you should read and reference depend on your subject. For example, in Education you might cite Government policy alongside books and articles. In medical and health-related courses you need to cite the latest research and evidence. Humanities courses can rely more on primary sources.

Broadly speaking, you should aim to cite more academic textbooks and peer-reviewed journal articles than to commercial websites, blogs and news articles. Your resource list and lecture materials give a good starting point. You then need to expand your knowledge and understanding by doing your own reading.



How to choose your sources of information

Evaluation checklists like the CRAP test, ABC test and RADAR help you decide whether a source is worth reading and citing in your work.

Ask yourself about:

  • Currency: is the information recent or recently updated? How recent does the information need to be for your research?
  • Reliability: what kind of information is it? is it opinion or fact? Are there references for data or quotations?
  • Authority: who wrote the information? Are they reputable? Is the information accurate and without errors? Peer reviewed journal articles are likely to be more authoritative and accurate because they are scrutinised by an editorial panel.
  • Purpose: why should you spend time reading this source? What is its purpose in your work? Is it biased? Is the author trying to sell you something?
  • Relevance: does the source help answer your assignment question? Is it appropriate for your level of study?

There is a vast amount of information available. Your Academic Liaison Librarian can help you find the best information for your assignment.