To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Strategic source evaluation: addressing the container conundrum

Alyssa Russo (University Libraries, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Amy Jankowski (University Libraries, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Stephanie Beene (University Libraries, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Lori Townsend (University Libraries, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 30 September 2019

Issue publication date: 20 November 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper argues that information containers provide valuable context clues that can help students make choices about how to engage with information content. The authors present a strategic approach to source evaluation rooted in format and authority threshold concepts.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors developed a source evaluation strategy with the objective of deciding whether to trust an information source. This strategy involves a set of cues to help readers mindfully engage with both the container and content of a given source.

Findings

When conducting research, non-experts are asked to evaluate content in the absence of relevant subject expertise. The cues presented in this paper offer practical tactics informed by the concepts of authority (to help make an accessible judgment of intellectual trust) and format (to help make more informed decisions about the content they find in a browser).

Originality/value

While librarians have produced many evaluative models and checklists to help students evaluate information, this paper contributes a unique strategic approach grounded in two information literacy threshold concepts – format and authority – and enacted through a series of actions drawn from website evaluation models, fact-checking, and metacognitive exercises.

Keywords

Citation

Russo, A., Jankowski, A., Beene, S. and Townsend, L. (2019), "Strategic source evaluation: addressing the container conundrum", Reference Services Review, Vol. 47 No. 3, pp. 294-313. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-04-2019-0024

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited