Once you've decided on your topic, be sure to pick out the keywords - the big ideas or main concepts - in your research question. You can make your search more effective by using the following to separate your keywords (terms):
The RADAR Framework is a tool to help you remember the criteria used to evaluate the quality, credibility, and relevance of any source of information. Keep these principles in mind when considering the inclusion of any source - whether print, online or other media - in your assignment.
Relevance – How relevant is the information to your assignment?
Authority – Who/what is the source (author, publisher) of the information?
Date – When was the information first published or last updated?
Appearance – What does the source of information look like?
Reason (for creation) – Why was the information published in the first place?
RADAR is not a yes/no test, or a be-all and end-all guide. Use RADAR to consider the relative quality of information as you are searching.
Biased, opinionated or even false information can be included in a research project to effectively highlight dissenting opinions or identify commonly held errors. The reliability of such information, however, should always be clearly identified and placed in context with more balanced sources.
If you are unsure about the quality of a source, don’t hesitate to contact the library for help!