Fact or fiction? Evaluating resources - transcript

This is a transcript of the video "Fact or fiction? Evaluating resources", hosted on YouTube.


[Caption] Fact or fiction? Evaluating resources

[Narrator] This is Student. [We see a female student, standing.] Say hello Student. [Student waves]

[Narrator] Now, Student's assignments need to be backed up with reliable and relevant sources of information. [Student is sitting at a desk, going through piles of books and paper. Phone rings. Student picks up phone and listens]

[Voice of Narrator, on phone] The credibility of your information sources in turn makes your work more able to be accepted. [Student hangs up]

[Caption] Reliable and relevant?

[Narrator] Now you may ask, how do I know if the information I have found is reliable and relevant? As a student, you have access to a wide range of information sources, including books and journals from the library and more generally from the internet. In the past, most of the available resources were printed and only available in the library. Academic publishers and librarians act as filters to ensure library resources are reliable and relevant. However, there are no such filters for information you find on the internet. Anyone can create a website - individuals, companies and organisations. And there is no guarantee that the information presented is accurate. Student will need to ensure that the information sources are reliable and relevant.

[Caption] How exactly?

[Narrator] There are six key questions that must be asked when deciding if a resource is suitable to be used an assignment:

  • reliability
  • validity
  • authority
  • accuracy
  • timeliness
  • point of view

[Caption] Reliability

[Narrator] Information quality varies according to the reliability of its source. Consider the publisher. A university press is more like to publish scholarly information then a commercial publisher. Scholarly sources often have a process of peer review, also known as refereeing, where experts in the field judge that the information is reliable before it is published. You can usually check whether a journal is refereed by checking the information on the publishers webpage.

[Caption] Validity

[Narrator] Academic books and journal articles should note the authors methods and assumptions, as will as list the references used as supporting evidence. As a reader, you can check these references to ensure that the conclusions the author draws are reasonable. A reliable webpage will also have a list of references, but if there are no references or links to other sources then you can't be sure the information is valid.

[Caption] Authority

[Narrator] In books and journal articles it is usual that the academic qualifications of the author are listed, as well as the academic institution with which they are connected. The author may also have been mentioned by your lecturer or other authors. On websites and blogs anyone can claim to have qualifications. There is no simple way to check their expertise. And so there is no certainty that the information they give is reliable. Information from the internet may be published by companies (.com), organisations (.org) and government departments (.gov). Government websites have a system of checking information before it goes on the website, but be careful with information from private companies and organisations. If there is no author identified then you should be wary.

[Caption] Accuracy

[Narrator] A reference list tells you what resources the author used to inform and support their claims. Check that the resources on the reference list are scholarly and that they have been used accurately and not been taken out of context. A webpage with no reference list may say things that sound correct but it is difficult to check and be certain.

[Caption] Timeliness

[Narrator] The date of publication can be important in certain fields of study, particularly where information is rapidly changing. Dates are usually clearly indicated on books and journal articles. Also, remember that books, particularly text books, are sometimes updated with new editions. Sometimes websites do not indicate when they were last updated, and so you cannot be sure that the information is current.

[Caption] Point of view

[Narrator] Consider the purpose of the information and the motivations of the author. Information can be presented in a way to persuade you of a particular opinion or to buy a commercial product or service. Publications from some organisations tend to reflect the views of their members and are less likely to be objective.

[Narrator] So, consider the six aspects of evaluation to be confident that your assignments are supported by quality information:

  • reliability
  • validity
  • authority
  • accuracy
  • timeliness
  • point of view

[Narrator] Remember, always evaluate all the information you find before you rely on it.

[Credits roll]

[Caption] Project Management Team - Bernadette Willans, Karin Medew, Judy Peacock

[Caption] Script Writing - Karin Medew

[Caption] Talent - Melanie Zanetti

[Caption] Producer/Director - Sarah Scully

[Caption] DOP/Camera Operator - Nick Paton

[Caption] Narration - David Halliday

[Caption] Camera Aassistant - Gabriel Dubler

[Caption] Editor - Angie Le Prou

[Caption] Production Assistant - Grace Julia

[Caption] Props - Elise Jade Hanrahan

[Caption] Extras - Briony Cowell, Nick O'Sullivan, Nick Kays, Liz Alvey, Shelley Marshall, Kaylani Jackson, Bo Day, Malcolm Pumpa, Tess Sebastion, Sam Piaggio, David Loose, Gabriel Dubler, Elise Jade Hanrahan

[Caption] QUT ©2012 CRICOS No. 00213J, eTV, eLearning Services

[End of video]