Choosing "good" results

The most important part of a search is finding information that answers your research question. Remember to always look for results that are related to your topic, reliable information, and readable for you.

Remember to save the citation for the information you want to use. Try copying and saving the citation or emailing it to yourself from Summon. Remember that Summon citations are just a starting point, and you will have to correct the citation. For help with detailed APA citation, use the Carleton Library APA guide or the Purdue OWL APA guide. For help with IEEE citation, use the IEEE Citation Reference, or the NAIT IEEE Style Guidelines and Examples.

Related Results

Make sure results are related to your topic by looking at the title and the summary to find your keywords. Ask yourself if the keywords are used in the right context. When you read the sentence, does it match the ideas from your research question?

If you're looking at a book, look at the subject words to make sure the main idea of the book is your research topic.

If you're looking at a journal article, try to find the keywords to make sure the author's main idea is your research topic. Remember, not all articles will have keywords.

Reliable Results

Make sure the content type (book, journal article, news article, website) is useful for your research question and your context. Remember that academic research usually uses books and journal articles. Read your assignment carefully to see if your instructor asked for a certain type of information.

Make sure the information isn't out of date for your research topic and context. If it is too old, it may not be reliable.

If the information is from a website or news article find the source of the information. Ask yourself:

  • Where did the information come from? Is it a person or organization that is reliable?
  • Did they do research? Can you find citations?
  • Why did the author write this information? Are they trying to sell something? Do they want to change your opinion?

Watch our short video: Evaluating online information using the C.R.A.P test

Readable Results

Make sure you have access to the information. If it's an article, can you find the full text PDF? If it's a print book, is it in the library?

Make sure the writing isn't too technical. Can you understand the summary?

Content last updated: September 15, 2017