IRIS: Evaluate Information A.S.A.P.
A.S.A.P. means fast!
Don’t waste your time with information you can’t trust. Use this fast, easy way to evaluate information.
- A is for Author.
- Sometimes it’s not easy to find author credentials.
- But if credibility is essential, take time to learn about the author.
- Credentials can include education, expertise, reputation, and other works by the author.
- S is for Sources.
- If there aren’t any sources, it’s not a research article.
- But it could still be credible.
- Popular sources (newspapers and magazines) rarely cite sources.
- Look for other clues to determine the credibility.
- A list of sources is a clue that the article is credible, and can also lead you to more information.
- You should also look at the quality of the sources and the number of sources.
- A is for Age
- Is the information the right age for your needs?
- Is it too old?
- How current is current enough?
- For information the answer is: it depends.
- Rule of Thumb:
- 5 years, maximum: medicine, health, technology, science
- 10-20 years: history, literature, art
- P is for Publisher
Look for publisher credentials.
Journals, Magazines, Books
Look up the name of the publisher in a search engine to find the publisher. Do they publish other things on the same subject?
Examine the site for information about the publisher, or sponsor, of the site. Often in “About Us.”
Many publishers, especially university presses, specialize in academic titles. Examples:
Oxford University Press
University of Utah Press