What process was used to gather and analyse the information?

When reading empirical articles, or reports including a literature review, you should evaluate the research process. The authors' research methodology should be based on established principles and fact or be consistent with accepted professional and industry standards in your discipline. Validity is very important in measuring the quality of any health or scientific research.

Documentation of methods, assumptions and sources of error should be transparent.

For example: The explanatory notes on page ten of this Australian Bureau of Statistics publication: 8647.0 Gambling Industries, Australia outline possible sampling errors in the data collection methodology.

At the very least, an article, book, web page or other resource should include a list of references so the reader can check the information used for themselves. If there are no references or links to other sources, then you can't be sure that the information is valid.

Are the images authentic?

Images, especially digital images, can be easily manipulated. If images are relied upon to make a point, consider whether they are authentic. A reliable source will provide the details of any images used in this way.

If you cannot find the original source or copyright owner, this can be an indication that the image is fake. If an image is real, people usually want credit for it! As with a print source, you may also need to verify the authority of the author.

Activity

Activity indicatorAre these images real or fake?

shark attack

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sandstorm

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Note: the copyright holders of these two images are unknown. For more information see image 1 and image 2 on Snopes.com.