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COSC 1301--Intro to computing: Home

Find good quality information for your paper and presentation.

Info for your presentation

This guide covers:

  • Choosing a topic
  • Finding reference articles  
  • Finding recent magazine articles
  • Finding good Web information
  • Citing sources in APA style 

How do I evaluate information for a paper or presentation?

As you look for information for your paper and power point presentation, use the following criteria to evaluate your sources before using the information, especially information from the open Web: 

  • Currency: When was it created? Is it recent enough? Currency is especially important for technology topics.
  • Relevance: How does the information relate to your topic? Is it the right type of information?
  • Authority: Who created this information? Are they an expert or qualified to write on the subject?
  • Accuracy: Is the information truthful and accurate? Is it verifiable from other sources?
  • Purpose Why was the information published or presented? Is it to influence you for reasons other than to inform? Is the author have any reason to be biased?

These five criteria should be applied to each source cited in your presentation. We call it the CRAAP test, for obvious reasons.

Thinking critically about information Print this rubric to help you evaluate your information for quality. Assign points for each criteria and then compute an overall score to use as a guide.

Why use the Library's databases?

While information from any source needs to be evaluated, information from the open Web needs more critical evaluation, because anyone can publish anything on the open Web. Keep these points in mind when deciding where to start your research:

  • Currency: Database articles are always dated and the databases allow you to sort articles by date so that the most recent articles are shown first. They are automatically sorted by relevance based on your search terms.
  • Currency of reference articles: While reference books might be less current than magazines or newspapers, they are an excellent source of background, such as the history of technology topics and definitions of terms, material to use in an introduction. Our most current technology encyclopedia is the Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology from 2009, and that is probably current enough for background on most technology topics. Find this encyclopedia in Reference at QA76.14 H43. Many magazine articles also provide background information. 
  • Authority: The databases are collections of magazine, journal, newspaper and reference book articles. Editors of these publications select authors by their reputations for quality and accuracy of their works. Academic journals use an expert panel of reviewers to select articles. This process is called "peer review." 
  • Accuracy: Generally speaking, magazine and book information is factual and truthful, but we still need to be skeptical about what is being stated. Can you verify that the information is accurate? Are they leaving any information out?  
  • Purpose/Point of view: While publishers in general try to inform their readers, you still need to watch for accuracy, truthfullness and bias in any publication.
  • Reviews of products: Some publications and e-zine Web sites evaluate and review consumer products including  technology products. Consumer Reports is one of the most well-known of these, but there are many technology product evaluations and comparisons in news and business magazines.  

Please see the "Find articles" tab for access to the library's databases. See also the "Web info" tab for our recommended technology Web sites.

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