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Literature research guide

In 5 steps to a good theoretical basis

You can find lots of information on the internet, or by using library resources. But, how do you find a source that is relevant and usable for you? Read it here.

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What have I found?

What have I found, and what can I use? A step that teaches you to be critical of the information that you have found. After you have searched and found information, it is important to check whether the information is relevantreliablecurrent and complete.

Relevance

Information is relevant when you can answer your research question. You can ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the information answer your research question?
  • Does the information give a general impression? Or does the info include exceptions and specific areas?

Does the quality of the information meet your needs?

Reliability

Information is reliable if you can be sure that it is correct. Two factors are of importance: credibility and objectivity. Ask yourself the following questions to assess if the information is reliable.

  • Who or what is the author? Are they professional?
  • Who is the publisher?
  • What are the motives for the author, organisation, or publisher for publication?

Currentness

Information is current if it corresponds to the current situation. Certain data does not change very quickly, such as food prices on the world market. Whether the information is current depends on your research question and the purpose of the information. You can ask yourself the following questions:

  • When was publication?
  • Is the information still valid? Has the content been kept up-to-date?
  • Is the information still correct? Does it match other sources?

Completeness

Information is complete when you have considered all possible angles. One hundred percent complete is usually not possible, but you can check if you have not missed any relevant information. Ask yourself the following questions to assess if the information is complete.

  • Are all angles covered?
  • Is there is an overview of sources that you used (list of literature)?
  • Are relevant sources of information missing?

Extra steps internet page

To determine if an internet page is relevant, reliable, current and complete, it is handy to take a few extra steps.

  • Who has published the information? Who owns the website?
  • Is the website sponsored? Are there advertisements? Is advertising the goal of this  website?
  • Do the links work? Is the lay-out of the page up-to-date?
  • Is the content of the website true?

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