Make the Information Part of Your Own Understanding

Information Literacy 10

This can be the most difficult step in the information literacy process because it is time consuming and requires reading, evaluating, and analyzing information.

  1. Use the criteria of accuracy, completeness, clarity, authority, purpose, timeliness, and reliability to evaluate information (see Infolit 7 handout, Evaluate Information and Its Sources Critically)

    • Read biographical information about the author of the books, articles, websites, etc.
    • Distinguish between more reliable, appropriate sources and those that are less reliable
    • Verify the information on your topic by finding supporting articles, books, etc.
    • Research the publisher of the information. How did they obtain the information? Are they reliable?
    • Look at the date of the information to make sure it's current or has the latest facts.
    • Understand that a single element, bias, out-of-date material, or unreliability may affect the usefulness of the information.
  2. Compare the newly acquired information with what you already know and look for contradictions, agreements and value

    • Read the information you evaluated and selected
    • Determine the compatibility of this new information with knowledge and experience that you have already about the topic.
    • Ask yourself: Do I need to do further verification of the new information? Do I need more information? Do I need to narrow or broaden my topic? Is the new information relevant to my topic? Do I need to revise my search strategy completely?
  3. Add the new information to the knowledge you already have to make it your own

    • Read and understand the main ideas from the sources you choose
    • Take notes and restate these ideas in your own words
    • Quote exactly and credit accurately any text, numbers, etc. used in your paper or project
    • Apply the same evaluation criteria of accuracy, completeness, etc. to the logic and content of the arguments in your readings.
    • Bring information from various sources together and look for new ideas, perspectives, insights, and understanding.
    • How does your own experience relate to this information?
  4. Expand your newly acquired knowledge

    • Develop your own ideas from the information you have read
    • Support your ideas with material or proof from your reading and research
    • Test your new theories using the appropriate methods of research or experiment
    • Is your topic interesting or important?
    • Can you prove your arguments or theories?
    • Are there additional questions that need to be answered?
    • Do you need to do further research on the topic?
  5. Finalize your goal in looking for the information. Your goal may be an assignment by an instructor or it may be personal research. Use the most appropriate method to communicate the information to others.

    • Written or oral report
    • Spreadsheet
    • Video
    • Webpage
    • PowerPoint presentation
    • Combination of methods

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