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Evaluating and Referencing

Reliable? Relevant? Up-to-date? Be selective when choosing which sources of information to use for an assignment (or for any other purpose). Ask yourself:

How reliable is the source?
  • Check the author and publisher.
  • Does the source contain a list of references, or mention where the information came from?
  • Does the author push their own point of view / display bias?
  • If so are the author's arguments & conclusions supported by the facts?
  • Beware one-sided arguments, and advertising!

Is the information relevant to the topic?
  • Check the title and abstract (if available). The introduction and conclusion can also guide your decision.
  • Do you need Australian / local information? If so check to see where it was published, and the geographic coverage of the information.

Is the source of information up-to-date?
  • Check when the information was published. If the information was published on the Web, check when it was last updated.
  • Usually the more up-to-date the better.

Referencing Information Sources

QuickCite [University of Auckland]

When writing an assignment it is important to consistently acknowledge the information sources that you have used.

  • gives credit to the people whose work you have drawn on
  • adds weight to your work, when supported by experts
  • shows that you have read relevant books and articles (etc.)
  • allows the reader to follow up on your sources

Before submitting an assignment, please check with your teacher to see if they have a preferred style of referencing.

Brief Guide to Referencing (based on the Harvard Style).
Referencing FAQs