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Construction & the Built Environment

Reviewing Search Results

You should always review your search results and assess them in terms of:

1. Relevance to your research topic. Refine your results to enhance relevance or try different search terms, search tips, databases

2.  Academic quality. Not all information is equal!

Critical evaluation is especially important with non academic sources (e.g. news sources).

Look through your results:

  • Note where your search words appear in the title/sentences - this helps you decide if something is worth clicking on.
  • ​For each relevant article, click through and read the summary/abstract.  If it looks of interest, read the conclusion or last paragraph.  If it is still of interest, download and read the entire article.
  • Repeat multiple times!

screenshot of article summary

Understanding Quality and Evaluating Sources

Once you’ve found a piece of information, you will be expected to judge its reliability and suitability to be used in an academic assignment.  This page outlines the key things to think about when evaluating information.

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Currency

  • Is the source up to date?  Does it need to be for your needs?
  • When was it published - can you easily find this information?

Reliability

  • Has your source been officially published? 
  • Has it been reviewed (by a publisher or peer-reviewed for articles)?
  • Is the content backed up with references to other sources that support it?

Authority

  • Who wrote it?  What is their background and qualifications? 
  • Do you trust that they are qualified to write about the topic?

Purpose

  • Why was this source written? 
  • Do you trust the purpose behind it? 
  • Does the author want to share research or contribute to the understanding of a topic, for example? 
  • Is it trying to sell you a point of view or product (and if so, you will need to be aware of this if you do use it in your research)?