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Finding & evaluating information for assessments

Find, evaluate and reference information: use our Library Guides and ask library staff for advice.

The internet provides us with a wealth of valuable information. It is also fraught with difficulties: how to evaluate sources for reliability being the most crucial.

Our Library Guides help you to optimise your search, check sources for accuracy, and avoid plagiarism in your assignments.

Library Guide to finding resources

To find reliable and credible information resources for your essay question, assignment or project, check the Library Guide Finding Resources.

The guide will help you to:

  • identify keywords in the assessment task or assignment question
  • list words that are similar, alternative or related to the identified keywords
  • use combinations of keywords with AND and NOT to narrow a search, and OR to broaden a search.

See short video on Keyword Searching.

You can use VU Library’s Search instead of Google to:

  • find academic and peer-reviewed content that is reliable and credible
  • filter out (irrelevant) search terms so you have a smaller search result.

See short video on Google vs VU Library.

The Finding Resources guide also offers information on the following:

Library Guide to evaluating information

After completing your search, use the Library Guide Evaluating Information to decide if the information you found is relevant and reliable for your essay question, assignment or project.

Follow the guidelines to:

  • spot fake news by using a checklist and fact-checking resources
  • identify the type of information sources such as scholarly journals, popular magazines and trade publications
  • evaluate information from books, journal articles or websites using a list of criteria to determine the authority, accuracy, currency and relevance of the information
  • evaluate social media sources.

Library Guide to referencing & plagiarism

When using the relevant and reliable information you found for your assessment, you have to use referencing and avoid plagiarism. Refer to the Library Guide Referencing and Plagiarism to determine:

  • when you need to reference using the flowchart ‘Strategies to avoid plagiarism’
  • the various components of a reference
  • the details of the referencing style relevant to your unit of study
  • whether a reference management tool would be useful to manage your references.

Library chat & drop-in sessions

For advice and guidance about researching and referencing, talk to library staff:

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