There is no denying that students are bombarded daily with an exorbitant amount of data. It comes at them in every direction and it does not look like it will be lessening any time soon. As a matter of fact, I predict it will only get worse. More and more data is flung at them every day. With the Internet being a highly enriched source of information where one can find information about anything from cartoons to x-rays, determining what information is credible and what is not is a time-consuming task. It is like synthesizing iron from the iron core, where steps involved in the synthesis play a very critical role. So what is a student to do in this age of information overload when confronted with doing research? How do they sift through the enormous amount of information? This paper will discuss what criteria should be considered when gathering evidence. There are numerous pieces that any student can look for to deem a source reliable. Here are a few to mention and that will be discussed and compared: author’s qualifications, currency of the information, accuracy of information, the writing style, is there objective reasoning about the information and lastly intuition about information. After I explore these topics in depth and point out the pros and cons of each category, I will impress upon you the answer to this question: What is the best criteria to consider when looking for good credible information when writing a research paper?
First, let’s examine the author’s qualification on the subject. This undoubtedly indicates that the information holds weight and is trustworthy. The scholarly journals, government documents, scientific journals and medical contents written by scholars, professionals and experts in their field with credentials provide good-quality information because this information is checked, edited and peer-reviewed before being published on the web. The burden falls on the editor to check the evidence supporting the information so that any material lacking reliable citation and source can be removed. However, this processed information does not come without a cost: it is not available for free on the web. Students have to pay for these facts via a subscription in order to be privy to this information.
Students can check an author’s expertise by examining: educational background, writing experience, and whether the author is an expert on the topic of the article or not. Linda Starr simplifies this matter when she writes, “determine the author’s education, training, and background to find out whether he or she is trained expert, an experienced enthusiast.” Certainly, this can help in determining, whether the author is qualified for the subject or not. Some of the examples of scholarly sites are EBSCO, GALE, LexisNexis where students can find good-quality information via subscription. Furthermore, most of the scholarly information comes with work cited or bibliography page and the cited sources indicate relevance.
On the other...