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?