Evaluating and using Information

This section explains how to use the information you find within your academic work.

2. Being critical

Questions like "who", "what" and "why" are known as comprehension questions. This type of questions are important because they help clarify your understanding of what it is you’re reading and prompt you to make sure you’re using an appropriate academic source.

But to be critical when you’re using information, you’ll also need to ask yourself analytical questions and evaluative questions while you read.

Analytical questions help deepen your understanding of the key parts of a text and how they all fit together.

Examples of analytical questions include…

Pink question mark

        • What framework has the author chosen?
        • Why have they chosen this framework?
        • What method are they using and why?
        • Is their argument logically consistent?
        • Is all of the information correct?

Evaluative questions help you to think about the underlying validity of the claims in a text and their wider significance.

Examples of evaluative questions include…

Blue question mark

      • Is the information they cite the most relevant for understanding the topic?
      • Is the author’s framework the best way of interpreting the material?
      • How does the author’s framework/methods compare to those of other authors?
      • What are the implications of the their findings?
      • What can be learnt from this?

Analytical and evaluative questions prompt you to reflect on what you think about the topic you’re researching.

Getting into the habit of asking these questions while you read is an important part of using information critically.

And it will help you feel more ready to express your own ideas when it comes time for you to write!

Want to get into the habit of being critical at all stages of your reading? Use our Worksheet for Reading Critically.

Need help or advice with anything on this page?  Contact the T&LS Team