Essay Example on There is an abundance of Information

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There is an abundance of information that is accessible to us however the validity of some information can be questionable Assessing the quality of information online is an important skill that everyone must harness because it is important for maintaining the integrity and accuracy of a research 1 Because evaluating sources is a critical step in the research process the CRAAP test was created as a guideline to validate sources through five criteria currency relevance authority accuracy and purpose 2 The first criterion is to evaluate the timeliness of the information also known as currency Some questions to ask are when the information was published whether the information is current or out of date whether the information has been revised or updated and whether the links are functional It is important to note that currency depends on the topic that is being researched and depending on the topic certain information can change more quickly than others For example it is important to look at the publication date when researching a current news topic rather than historical subject The second criterion is relevance

When evaluating a source for relevance it is essential to look for terminologies and keywords that reflect the focus of the research subject Along with relevance reliability of the source is also important when assessing the validity of the source For example when evaluating a website it is essential to check if there are appropriate reference links Another criterion in the CRAAP test is authority It is important to determine the authority responsible for the source and validate whether the author or the organization is credible Readers should actively seek answers to questions like who is the author publisher source sponsor What are their qualifications and are they qualified to write on the topic Readers should also look at the accuracy of the source Lastly the purpose of the source is another crucial criterion in evaluating sources First we must consider the author's purpose and point of view Second we must critically analyze the author's goal in publishing the information Was the purpose to present facts Was it to sell products or was it to persuade an audience These are all important questions to ask when evaluating the purpose of the source Bias can be defined as an intentional or unintentional influence an author has on a research Sources often have a vested interest in their argument hence making them not neutral Bias can affect the validity of a source by influencing a result in order to portray a certain outcome 3 While opinions can be helpful in a persuasive argument it can become a bias when researching for information with hard facts which can ultimately kill the objectivity of the paper In order to avoid bias and certify the validity of a source peer review is used as a tool in many scholarly sources

Peer reviewed articles are articles that have been reviewed and evaluated by experts on the specific research topic before being accepted for publication in a journal hence making them the highest quality scholarly articles 4 Such experts are usually the author s peers people who are working in the same research area Each reviewer judges the quality and significance of the research that is being reviewed they look at criteria like what the research is about the importance of the subject the methodologies used and the logicality and the originality of the paper In order for an article to be published in a journal it must pass several quality tests The first step in the peer review process starts when the author submits an article to a specific journal Once the article has been submitted the journal s editor reads the article and determines whether it is suitable for journal If approved it is passed on to the experts of the subject to evaluate the quality of the article Once reviewed by the peers it can either be approved for publication or rejected by the editor Due to the two step process peer review has become the most important tool used in the validation of scientific publication 4 While peer reviewed articles are considered primary source popular magazines such as Time and Wired magazines are considered secondary source Thus magazines in general are not considered a reliable source of information for research papers The main reason is primarily because they are not peer reviewed Although magazines can be valuable information they contain little or no citations have advertisements and are usually persuasive all of which can question the credibility of the author and the content In the case of Wikipedia it is a perfect tool for seeking a general overview of a topic Although it is moderated there is often no way of knowing who is editing the entries or the level of expertise of the author In my opinion Wikipedia is not acceptable for scholarly sources even if the sources are true It is a great collection of general information but it cannot be used as a primary source The subject of interpretation and bias are present in Wikipedia because it is a secondary source The information found in Wikipedia is not static it could be edited anytime

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