Credibility in the art of research
In this the age of information it becomes harder for students to navigate their way through the plethora of information at their fingertips. Students need to develop their skill of evaluating everything they read with a contingent of questions in mind. Evaluating skills can be sorted into five base areas.
Authority: Who is the author and can they be contacted? Does this author or even publisher have a reputable background?
Purpose: Is the information relevant to the research needs? Is the information trying to sell you something and demonstrate specific advertising?
Objectivity: Is the information trying to persuade the reader in some way? Is the information biased? Can this opinion be balanced with an alternative opinion? Can the author be trusted?
Accuracy: Does the information appear in keeping with other research undertaken? Are there mistakes in grammar, spelling or Photoshopped images? Are any links or suggested further reading outdated and not maintained? Are facts and figures referenced for further clarification?
Currency: Is the research/article up-to-date?
By keeping just a few of these types of questions in mind when reading research materials, students develop the skills of being able to discern fake material and become avid researchers.