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Gastroenterology Nursing Certificate (GNC): Evaluating Sources

Featuring selected Okanagan College Library resources for gastroenterology nursing

Evaluating Sources

The Internet and the Library make it is easy to find information, but it is more difficult to identify sources you can rely on. Evaluate your sources carefully to ensure you've selected material that is trustworthy and appropriate for your assignnment. Use this checklist to help you evaluate your sources:

 

Scholarly Academic Publication

Popular Publications

Author

Written by an expert in the field of study (an academic or trained specialist) Written by those without expertise in the field of study (a member of the public or journalist) or no author is stated 

Date

Date of publication is provided Date of publication is often not provided for popular Web resources

Publisher

Colleges/Universities, professional associations, scholarly publishers + research institutes    Commercial for-profit publishers or members of the public

Purpose

To report on experiments, theories, case studies + other research    To sell advertised products, inform, promote a point of view or entertain

Editing

Peer review by experts in the field Review by a generalist (a magazine editor) or no review

Documentation

Sources used in the author's research are cited in a reference list or footnotes    Sources are rarely cited or are inaccurate

Other

Accurate spelling + grammar, few advertisements, logical + well written

Spelling + grammar errors may occur, many advertisements, poor or variable writing quality

(Modified, original source UBC Library)

 

For more information:

Authority

  • Who is the author and/or owner of the site?
  • Does the author have authority and expertise in the area?
  • What is the link's domain, .edu, .gov, or .com?
  • Are references or related links available?

Accuracy

  • Can you verify the information on the site elsewhere?
  • Is there a list of sources or references?
  • Has accuracy been proven through a review process?

Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it fact, opinion, selling something?
  • Is there advertising on the site, or is something being sold?

Currency

  • When was the site last updated? Is a copyright date available? 
  • Do the links work?
  • Is the information up to date for your research?

Relevance

  • Is there enough coverage of the topic?  
  • Does the information support the research you have already found?
  • Are links provided to find more information?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources?

Wikipedia etc.

Wikipedia can be great to find background information! 
 Wikipedia has an absence of accountability, people do not need to verify the truthfulness of the information 

"You see, any user can change any entry, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true."
Comedian Stephen Colbert 

 

Examples

Internet

Library Databases

 Search engines, such as Google, websites CINAHL Complete, PsycINFO

Access 

 Any computer with Internet connection On-campus or off-campus with login

Cost

 Free Free to students, but Library pays subscription & licensing fees

Content by

 Anyone Scholars, professionals, experts, journalists

Content

 Anything and everything, pictures, personal opinions, blogs, articles, etc. Biased or often misleading to change visitors' opinion of site or organization. Full-text articles from reputable publications, often peer reviewed content. Full-text books and book chapters. References or links for related information. 

Appearance

 Personal pages, corporate pages, pages that look reliable but have no affiliation with reputable source, visually appealing pages to distract from content.  Little or no advertising, range of limiters available. Affiliated with reputable source, organization, individual or company. Contact information available.

Publication

 Anytime by anyone, irregular schedule.

Typically published daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually. Journal/periodical issues usually identified by volume and/or issue number.

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