Research 101: UConn Information Literacy Competency Modules UConn Information Literacy Competency Modules

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Introduction
Your Search Strategy
Credibility

Usefulness

Summary

 

Evaluating

Usefulness

How useful is that information source?

When deciding whether or not to use an information source in your research, you should consider the following questions:

How current is it?

 

Depending on the topic, the publication date can affect the usefulness of the information. For example, many scientific topics require the most recent data.

 

Who was it written for?

 

The general public? scholars? special interest groups?

 

Is there a noticeable bias?

 

Is it propaganda? opinion? fact?

 

How well does it cover your topic?

 

Does it try to cover the topic comprehensively, provide a brief overview, or analyze one narrowly-focused aspect?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After reviewing the above questions, which of the following sources would be most useful for a research paper on the current use of primates in scientific laboratories?

A. "Monkeys in our Labs," by Scott Gottieber, a USA Today staff writer. Published in USA Today Dec 15, 1989. Includes chart, "Number of Test Primates in the US, 1975-1985."

 

B. Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group website. LPAG is a nonprofit organization. Website last updated in 2001. "LPAG believes that the laboratory is no place for monkeys and nonhuman great apes."

 

C. "Better numbers on primate research," by Constance Holden. Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Appeared in Science, a scholarly publication, on March 30, 2001.

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Know which source is best for your project.

© University of Washington Information Literacy Learning 2001