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Jackson State Community College -- COLLEGE SUCCESS - Library Research and Information Literacy: Module 3: How Do You Choose and Evaluate Resources?

This guide will provide tips and guidelines as to how to successfully use your College library, find resources, evaluate your resources, and use them for your research work

How Do You Judge Which Resources Are Suitable For Your Needs?

In order to judge which of the resources that you found during your research will be most suitable to your information needs, you must ask yourself several questions:


      1>   How much information do I need?  That is, have I found too much or too little information to be able to complete my assignment, finish my term paper, or create my presentation?


      2>   If I do not have enough information -- where might I go to find more?  What resources might I research that I have not yet used?


      3>   Is the information I've found at the level that I need?  That is, do I need scholarly publications and have I found information that is of this sort?  Is the information that I've found too technical or at too high a level of subject expertise for my information needs -- or is it not technical or professional enough?


      4>   Do some of the resources that I've found during my research provide me with the same information -- that is, with duplicate information?  And if so, which would be the best resources for me to use in order to complete my work?


      5>   Have I found resources that comply with the sort of resources my instructor wants me to use, or that will be acceptable to whoever is requesting information from me?

Evaluation of Research Resources

  You can evaluate the resources you find by using the FOCUS on Community College Success textbook's five (5) guidelines for determining whether or not a resource is valuable; see pg. 142 of your textbook. 


Look at your resources and decide whether or not they meet these guidelines:


                      >    Currency

                     >    Accuracy

                     >   Authority

                     >   Objectivity

                     >   Coverage



NOTE:  Using the five guidelines above is particularly important when you are looking at Internet sites.  Why?  Because, unlike books and databases, Internet websites:



♦  Usually are not edited, the content of the websites is not usually reviewed and judged for accuracy or for intent of the creator


♦  Can be created by anybody, whether or not they have genuine knowledge or expertise in the subject of the website they have created


♦  Are filled with "noise;" poop-up ads or sites, side-bar advertising, and other such distractions


♦  Are often not updated, or are difficult to determine who writes and maintains the website

"Evaluating Websites" (YouTube)