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Succeeding in postgraduate study
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6.2 Evaluating information using the ‘PROMPT’ criteria

A useful way to systemically assess the credibility and potential value of any resource is to apply the PROMPT criteria. The table below outlines this structured approach. Activities 7–9 in the next section will allow you to explore three criteria (Provenance, Relevance and Objectivity) further. The presentation below offers further detailed guidance to support your evaluation. Take a look at Table 2 and view the presentation now before proceeding to complete the activities in the following section.

Table 2 Critical skills in assessing material – using the ‘PROMPT’ criteria

Provenance

Is it clear where the information has come from? Can you identify the author(s)/organisation(s)? Are there references/citations that lead to further reading? Are they credible sources in your view? Can the author or source of the information be considered a reliable authority on the subject?

Relevance

Is the information you have found relevant to the topic you are researching? Does it meet your specific requirements? Does it make sense in the particular context in which you are working?

Objectivity

Does the author or owner of the information make clear their own and/or alternative views? Is the article biased, or motivated by a particular agenda? Is the language emotive? Are there hidden, vested interests?

Method

Is it clear how the work was carried out? Were the methods appropriate? Do they permit the author to come to a sound and reasonable conclusion?

Presentation

Is the information presented and communicated clearly?

Consider the language, layout and structure. Is the information clearly laid out and easy to navigate?

Timeliness

How up-to-date is the material? Is it clear when it was written? Is it recent or dated? Does the age of the information matter – does it still meet your requirements, or would it be considered ‘obsolete’ for your purposes (i.e. for a specific assignment)?

Download this video clip.Video player: Session 5, slidecast 1: Evaluating information using the ‘PROMPT’ criteria
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Session 5, slidecast 1: Evaluating information using the ‘PROMPT’ criteria
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