Accuracy refers to the truth and validity
of information. Accuracy may be the most difficult area for you to assess
because, particularly in undergraduate programs, you are often studying
topics new to you. However, there are a few tips you can use to help you
make reasonable decisions about the accuracy of informaion.
- Read more than one book or article on a topic. Compare what
different authors have to say about the topic.
- Consult with your professor or another known expert on the
- Use critical thinking skills as you read. Do the author's
conclusions make sense? If the book or article is describes a study, look
over the author's methodology. How thorough was his or her work? Can you identify
any possible problems with his or her method?
- Look at the date of publication. How old is the material?
The implications of the date vary by discipline. In the sciences, new discoveries
may supercede older information. Something perviously believed to be true,
may no longer be true. In the humanities, facts may stay the same, but interpretations
of the facts change.
Common sense may be your best aid. If something sounds fishy,
it just might be. Take the time to find out more about the subject.