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Library Services for Research

An overview of the services available via City's Libraries for Masters students, PhD students, postdoctoral and academic staff.

Evaluating Information

An important part of your research is identifying the key and important sources on your topic and choosing which ones to include and analyse in your dissertation, project or thesis. Rather than just summarising the key arguments, it is useful to analyse them and make connections between them.

There are different ways to achieve this but one method is to use the PROMPT approach:

Presentation - is the information presented in a clear and readable way? Are there relevant diagrams and photographs? Is it written objectively or is it emotive?

Relevance - is it relevant and appropriate for your needs? Does it cover the countries or regions which interest you? Does it cover all aspects of your topic?

Objectivity - is it balanced or is there some bias? Can you easily establish who the authors are and what their authority might be? Are there vested interests behind the website? Is it trying to sell you something?

Method - how was the information gathered together? Are the methods clearly stated? Ask yourself basic questions about sample size, use of control groups. questionnaire design etc.

Provenance or Authority - who or what originated the information and are they reliable sources? Are the authors acknowledged experts in this area? What else have they published on this topic? Do they belong to well-known institutions? If you're looking at a journal article, is it from a peer-reviewed journal? If it is a website, did you find the link on a trusted site, such as NHS Evidence or a professional body or a university?

Timeliness - is the information up-to-date and can you tell if it has been superseded? Is it clear when the website was produced?