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SCIE2230: Science of Health and Wellness: Evaluating Information

Information Sources

You are required to find relevant material from valid and reliable sources. RADAR can help you determine what is a valid and reliable source.

Generally, sources from academic databases (such as research articles, reference materials, books, etc.) and public health agencies/other government bodies are considered valid and reliable. When searching Google, make use of the search tips on the Finding Information tab to help narrow to these types of sources.

Use Your RADAR

The RADAR framework provides criteria to help you evaluate the quality, credibility, and relevance of any source of information. Keep these questions in mind when considering if you should use a source - whether print, online, or other media - in your assignment.

Relevance - is the information/source important to my specific topic or research question?

Authority -  was it written by a credible expert? Is the publisher reputable?

Date - when was the source published or last updated? Is it an acceptable time frame for my topic?

Appearance - does the source follow the form and structure of its genre? Does it look trustworthy?

Reason - why was the information produced in the first place? Who was it written for?

Check the RADAR guide for more information.

Conflicting Information

Reading conflicting information from multiple sources? Here are some topics on what to do.

  • Check the date. Many medical topics are constantly developing and discovering new information. It's always good practice to try to find as recent sources as possible as part of your search.
  • Check the authority. You want to be citing authoritative sources such as scientists, doctors/nurses or other medical practitioners, and public health agencies.
  • Check the reason. A drug company has a motivation to sell their products, while a public health agency has a motivation to inform. It's possible that the source you are looking may be biased.
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