RADAR is a framework that helps evaluate sources for quality and usefulness in your research. It stands for:
Rationale, Authority, Date, Accuracy, Relevance
Check out the boxes below for some questions you should ask yourself as you examine and evaluate the sources you find. Click on the file below for a detailed, printable explanation of the framework and questions.
1. Why did the author or publisher make this information available? Is there a sponsor or advertising? Who pays to help make this information available?
2. Are alternative points of view presented?
3. Does the author omit any important facts or data that might disprove their claim?
4. Does the author use strong emotional language? Are there other emotional clues such as all caps?
1. What are the author's credentials?
2. Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or a prominent organization?
3. Can you find information about the author in reference books or on the Internet?
4. Do other books or articles on the same research topic cite the author?
5. Is the publisher of the information source reputable?
6. If it’s on the Internet, is it fabricated or intended as satire? Check the “About” page and google it with the word “fake” to make sure it’s legit.
1. When was the information published or last updated?
2. Have newer articles been published on your topic?
3. Are links or references to other sources up-to-date?
4. Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology or science?
5. Is the information obsolete?
1. Are there statements you know to be false? Verify an unlikely story by finding a reputable outlet reporting the same thing.
2. Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published? Was it fact-checked? How do you know?
3. Do the citations and references support the author's claim? Are the references correctly cited? Follow the links. If there are no references or bad references, this could be a red flag.
4. What do other people have to say on the topic? Is there general agreement among subject experts?
5. If applicable, is there a description of the research method used? Does the method seem appropriate and well-executed?
6. Was item published by a peer-reviewed journal, academic press, or other reliable publisher?
7. If there are pictures, were they photo-shopped in? Use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to see where an image really comes from.
8. For websites, what is the domain? Fake sites often add “.co” to trusted brands (e.g. abcnews.com.co)
1. Does the information answer your research question?
2. Does the information meet the stated requirements for the assignment?
3. Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?
4. Who is the intended audience?
5. Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?
6. Is the information focused on the geographical location you are interested in?