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Critical Information Literacy: Search Strategies and Evaluation Techniques

Navigating Academic Integrity, Anti-Plagiarism, AI Language Models, Critical Thinking, and Referencing Styles

Keywords and Search Queries

Begin your search by identifying relevant keywords and constructing effective search queries. Use specific terms that accurately reflect your topic or research question. Consider using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine or exclude keywords for more precise results.

Source Evaluation

Assess the credibility and reliability of information sources by considering factors such as authority, accuracy, objectivity, and currency. Evaluate the expertise and qualifications of authors or organizations. Look for peer-reviewed articles, reputable publishers, and reliable news sources.

Cross-Checking and Verifying Information

Verify the accuracy and validity of information by cross-checking multiple sources. Compare information from different perspectives and sources to identify inconsistencies or discrepancies. Be cautious of relying solely on a single source, especially if it lacks corroboration.

Critical Reflection

Engage in critical reflection throughout the research process. Question assumptions, biases, and potential limitations of the information sources you encounter. Consider the broader context and implications of the information presented.

Database Selection

Choose appropriate databases or search engines for your research. Different databases focus on specific disciplines or types of information. Consider using multidisciplinary databases like Google Scholar or specialized databases in your field of study.

Bias and Perspective Analysis

Be aware of biases and perspectives present in the information sources you encounter. Consider the potential influence of political, cultural, or commercial interests on the content. Look for diverse viewpoints and consider the impact of any potential bias on the information provided.

Peer Review and Scholarly Sources

Recognize the importance of peer-reviewed scholarly articles. These articles undergo rigorous evaluation by experts in the field. Check if a source is peer-reviewed by looking for journal titles or indicators in databases.

Advanced Search Techniques

Familiarize yourself with advanced search features provided by databases or search engines. These may include options to limit your search by date, language, publication type, or geographic region. Learn how to use truncation (*) and wildcard (?) symbols to expand or narrow your search results.

Citation Chaining and Bibliographies

Follow citation chains by examining the references cited in relevant sources. This can lead you to additional quality resources related to your topic. Similarly, explore the bibliographies or reference lists of scholarly books or articles for further relevant readings.

Evaluation Criteria and Checklists

Utilise evaluation criteria and checklists provided by libraries or reputable organizations. These resources offer systematic frameworks to assess the quality and reliability of sources. They may include factors such as author credentials, citation information, source publication, and evidence-based content.