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Search Smarter: Finding Information in Science and Engineering: Step 5: Evaluation

How can I evaluate my results?

Do the results match your topic?

Are the results too specific or too general?

Have you come across a new synonym for one of your keywords that may provide a better set of results? Look at any useful articles you have found.  They may provide some words (subject headings/keywords) you should add to your search

Evaluate your results and see if you need to adjust your current search strategy or repeat your search in another database

Tip: Keep a record of your search history so that you know where to target for the best results

There is a separate LibGuide to help you evaluate the credibility of the sources of information that you have found

Example assignment question

Discuss the impact of climate change on Australian ecosystems.

1. If the results are too specific, then broaden your search using OR and another synonym. (Look in the thesaurus for broader terms).

e.g.  global warming OR greenhouse effect.

2. If the results are too general then check the thesaurus and dictionary for a more specific term.  e.g. "Australian ecosystems" is more specific than just "ecosystems".

3. If there are too many results, use more limits, add more keywords, or use  narrower terms (from the thesaurus and dictionary)

4. Use new keywords found in your search results in a new search to target better results.

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