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Preliminary selection round
When choosing the sources for your text, bear in mind that the information you plan to use must be open, quality-assured and updated. You should therefore, on a general basis, be concerned with who sent the information, what methods are used to create the information and who the information is considered to.
Sometimes you will be able to instantly spot if something is false or contains misleading information. Other times you must do a thorough source check. Unfortunately, no formula can do that, but we will give you some tips we hope can be of help.
First selection round
When searching, you usually must do it in several rounds. But once you have your list of articles, you are ready to start assessing and selecting which ones to use.
Go through your list of articles and use e.g., the following criteria:
- Is the document relevant to your purpose? (e.g., example consider the title vs. the research question)
- What kind of document is it? (e.g., article, rapport, book chapter, chronic, comments)
- Where is the document published? (e.g., academic journal or scientific journal)
- What year is the document published?
Second selection round
Now you have a list of articles moving into the second round. You should be looking at:
- Is the document published in a peer-reviewed journal or another scientific source?
- Does the article (if it is an article) follow the IMRAD structure?
- Are the research methods used well described?
- Is there a good and varied bibliography at the end?
If the document still seems relevant and within the limitations you have described in your method chapter, it will be included in the next round. Now you have a list of articles or other documents that you can read carefully and consider using.
On source criticism
Click the translation icon for English text.
Other strategy examples
It is usual within medical and health science subjects to use quality assessment checklists. They can help you ask critical questions about the article and the methods used. You will find more about checklists at Helsebiblioteket (in Norwegian).