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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: Step 3: Evaluate & Analyze Information

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process.

Evaluating Information

When doing research, it is important to find information that is reliable, accurate, and appropriate for your assignment. Some assignments may require you to use or limit certain sources such as:

Not all of the information you find will be appropriate and useful for your assignment.

Some of the information that you come across...

  • will be accurate, but some will be inaccurate.
  • will be timely, but some will be outdated.
  • will be written by experts in their fields, but many won't.
  • will cover the time period you need, but some won't.
  • will be factual and verifiable, but many won't.
  • will be written objectively, while others will be biased.

Being able to evaluate information and sources will help you determine the most useful and appropriate sources for your assignment.

Why Evaluate?

Knowing how to evaluate information can help you with research assignments as well as bigger life decisions

Knowing how to find relevant and accurate information can help you make informed decisions about graduate school, a new car purchase, financial aid, jobs, your health, and more.

The Web versus Library Databases

In general, sources found through library databases and catalogs are easier to evaluate than those found on the free Web because they have already been reviewed by:

  • AN EDITOR who verifies the accuracy of the information, and
  • A LIBRARIAN who evaluates its appropriateness in the library's collection.

Search Engine vs. Research Database for Research

From Modesto Junior College: