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Searching Information: Evaluating the search results

The information search process: Evaluation

Evaluating the search results

Whether you are searching the library database, international databases or the internet, you always have to evaluate your search results. Examples of evaluation criteria:

Usefulness, relevance

Are the results relevant enough, do they match your information need? The databases usually categorize the search results according to relevance, but you have to evaluate the usefulness of the results by examining headings, abstracts, year of publication, and subject terms.

Quality and source criticism

Are the results reliable, objective, up-to-date, precise or academic?

Accessibility

Can you download the text online or get it at the library? If the material is not easily accessible, you have to consider whether it is worthwhile locating it. In a full text database, the articles are available for download online. Note, however, that the license your university has purchased might cover only part of the articles in the database, others are found elsewhere. You can then ask for assistance from the library's interlibrary loan service.