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A New Approach to Evaluating Information: A Reflection on RADAR
Western Libraries Presentations
  • Kevin Tanner, Western University
  • Kim McPhee, University of Western Ontario
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For instruction librarians, teaching information literacy (IL) skills is often an important aspect of any lesson plan. One area of IL includes the critical evaluation of sources, an essential skill that students need to succeed as aspiring scholars and researchers. This ability to differentiate “good” from “bad” information is beneficial to students beyond their academic careers, and will help them navigate the “sea of information” for the rest of their lives. Typically, such evaluation skills are taught through applying the CRAAP test: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. While humorous and memorable, the name of this test devalues the usefulness of IL and falls into the realm of “edutainment”.

An alternative - the RADAR test - sounds more serious, has more value as a research tool, and is both a memorable acronym and palindrome. The RADAR framework was conceptualized by Jane Mandailos of the American College of Greece, and it stands for Relevance, Authority, Date, Appearance, and Reason for Writing (2013). We taught RADAR as the framework for evaluating sources in a series of one-shot IL workshops, and assessed students’ reactions during the session as well as through a workshop assessment tool. We will present our findings on this framework for evaluating sources through an informal, anecdotal poster session, with suggestions and plans for future research. With the pervasiveness of misinformation and the rise of Web 2.0, information literacy is more important now than ever, and we must conceptualize that by framing it as a serious and important research skill.

Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470–478


Presented at the 2015 Research on Teaching and Learning Conference at McMaster University

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Kevin Tanner and Kim McPhee. "A New Approach to Evaluating Information: A Reflection on RADAR" (2015)
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