Selecting Information for Your Assignments

When you select material and information for your assignments, it should never be used indiscriminately - there should be a continual evaluation process occurring. Evaluate information for its relevance and usefulness to your work, and its quality. When looking at a source, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Will this information be useful?

  • Is it relevant to my task?
  • Does it relate to my topic?
  • Does it help me answer a question or solve a problem?

2. Will this information add to my knowledge?

  • Does it help me learn more about the topic?
  • Does it fill in background information?
  • Does it provide specific information?

3. What will I use this information for?

  • Could it help to form my central argument?
  • Will it help focus my thoughts?
  • Can I use it as evidence?
  • Will it help me locate other information?

4. How recent is this information?

  • Is it out-of-date, or is it still useful?
  • Is it the most up-to-date? Does it need to be?

5. How reliable is this information?

  • Does this material come from a reputable and unbiased source?
  • Is the author an acknowledged expert in the field?

6. How understandable is this information?

  • If I find it difficult to understand, do I have to use it?
  • Can I choose other information that I do understand?

7. How will I use this information?

  • Does it provide evidence or support for my ideas?
  • Does it provide a good example?
  • Where could I put it in my assignment?

8. Do I really need to use this information?

  • How does it help me answer the task?
  • Is it essential information?
  • Is it new information or am I just restating what I have already said?
  • Is it the best example or most relevant piece of evidence? Do I have better material?
  • What does it add to my work? Would my assignment be just as good without it?
  • Is it too technical or too simple?
  • Have I already supported my argument or point of view well enough?
  • Do I have enough information to begin my task?