My name is Marya and I’m in my senior year of Biomedical Sciences at UW. With school having gone online, I must say I feel as though we are all working on more assignments than we usually do. When searching for sources of information for my assignments, presentations or general research, I always find myself a bit uncertain about the quality and credibility of my source. Can I actually use this information in my assignment, or could it be poorly researched, contain the wrong information, or worse, plagiarized?
I am sure this is a common problem for other students like myself, so today I wanted to talk a little bit about the RADAR Framework I use to discern the quality, credibility, and relevance of any source - whether print, online or other media.
The RADAR Framework is a series of questions you can ask to critically appraise information. With the 5 criteria of RADAR in mind, you can ask yourself:
- How is this information related to my task?
- How does this information help answer my question?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Who created the information?
- Is the publisher and/or author of this source well-regarded in their discipline?
- Have other people cited this work or author?
- When was the information created or last updated?
- Are the references in this source up to date?
- Are there newer articles on this subject?
- Is the information presented in a professional manner?
- Are there any statements in this source that you know are false?
- Are there any editing errors such as spelling or grammar mistakes?
- Does the author use external sources to support their claims?
- Has this information been peer-reviewed?
- Why has this information been made available?
- Who has funded this research or who is the sponsor?
- Has the information been written with an impartial lens on the topic? Or, is it biased? Strong emotional language can be a red flag.
- Have they included their methodology, population, and/or data?
The RADAR framework has been a really quick and useful tool so far and I find myself using aspects of it in everyday content that I consume, like Instagram posts, YouTube videos, etc. It gives me perspective to see whether the information I am exposed to is reliable or even useful in my life and goals.
However, I do want to conclude by reminding that RADAR is not a be-all and end-all guide. It is particularly helpful to help a student reflect on the relative quality of information they are searching.
Media Literacy often has many layers of discernment and I will be listing some more blog posts below on the various aspects and methods on how to determine information. They are all light reading and can alter the way you ever viewed your information.
Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal Of Information Science, 39, 470- 478. doi:10.1177/0165551513478889.
William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University. (28 June, 2018). Evaluating sources: Using the RADAR framework. Retrieved from http://libguides.lmu.edu/aboutRADAR.