Determining the Relevance of the Information
To be useful to you, the information you find must be central to your argument, not merely be on the same general topic.
Does the item contain information relevant to your argument?
- Read the introduction and conclusion to the item
- Scan its headings or chapter titles
- Look through the tables of contents and indexes of books
Does the information presented support or refute your ideas?
Do you have counter arguments for the information refuting your ideas?
Does the material provide you with new information?
Determining the Intended Audience
Now that you have the item in front of you, who is the real audience?
How much prior knowledge does the author expect of her/his audience?
- Is it too elementary or too advanced to be of use to you?
- Does the author provide adequate background information to aid understanding?
What biases might the author's audience have? Is this important for you to address in your work?