Strong research skills are an important skill that students of all levels need to develop. This is equally true for learners transitioning into third level from secondary education; those returning to education and for masters level students making the transition from undergraduate to post graduate programmes. Likewise, for staff looking to keep up to date with emerging best practice, confidence in undertaking research is also a critical, underlying skill.
By valuing and developing this foundational skill, other areas that many learners often find daunting will come much more easily, and develop naturally over the course of their studies.
1: Identify relevant keywords
2: Once you get the initial results, narrow these down:
There are so many different types of information available, it is sometimes difficult to identify which can be considered reliable and appropriate for your needs. Understanding how best to access and recognise relevant information is a vital skill.
Recognising and understanding the many different types of information that is available is a fundamental skill for academic work.
It is worth taking a little time to become familiar with the various types of sources that you will come across. This can help you to focus your time and attention in a more productive way.
This interactive lesson, developed by the University of Manchester explores how to evaluate and approach sources from the student perspective. It aims to develop the skills to necessary to source and critically judge quality information to support academic work.
Not all information that is published is credible and reliable. This can be particularly challenging to judge if you find that information online. You need to be able to judge the value and credibility of any source you find before you use it.
One way to evaluate an information source is to apply the CRAAP test.
What is the CRAAP TEST?
CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose
Currency: The timeliness of the information
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs
Authority: The source of the information
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Purpose: The reason the information exists
View this video from McMaster University to get a quick overview of what the CRAAP test involves.
Download the CRAAP Test Worksheet