The RADAR Framework can help you remember what kinds of questions to ask about an information source as you evaluate it for quality and usefulness in their research.
Rationale is important because books, articles, and web pages are made to serve a purpose. They can educate, entertain, or sell a product or point of view.
- Why did the author or publisher make this information available?
- Is there obvious and/or extreme bias or prejudice?
- Are alternative points of view presented?
- Does the author omit any important facts or data that might disprove their claim?
- Does the author use strong emotional language?
Authority is important in judging the credibility of the author's assertions.
- What are the author's credentials?
- Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or a prominent organization?
- Can you find information about the author in reference books or on the Internet?
- Do other books or articles on the same research topic cite the author?
- Is the publisher of the information source reputable? Search by publisher name (peer-reviewed journal or reputable publisher)
Date, or currency, is important to note because information can quickly become obsolete. Supporting your research with facts that have been superseded by new research or recent events weakens your argument.
Accuracy is important because errors and untruths distort a line of reasoning.
- Are there statements you know to be false?
- Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?
- Do the citations and references support the author's claim? Are the references correctly cited?
- What do other people have to say on the topic? Is there general agreement among subject experts?
- If applicable, is there a description of the research method used? Does the method seem appropriate and well-executed?
- Was item published by a peer-reviewed journal, academic press, or other reliable publisher?
Relevance is important because you are expected to support your ideas with pertinent information.
- Does the information answer your research question?
- Does the information meet the stated requirements for the assignment?
- Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?
- Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?