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*Cite and Analyze Business Information: Analyze Information

Citing and Analyzing Information tools for business students.

Why use several sources of information?

In business much of the information can be factual (e.g. revenue) but people's perspectives or biases can also come into play (e.g., press releases, analyst reports, how something is calculated).  Use multiple sources of information to see how different perspectives can influence the same data and to get a more complete picture.

Criteria for Analyzing Articles

1. What is the main-point or argument?

2. What evidence is given to substantiate the author's argument? 
    A. From where or how was the information obtained?
    B. Is the research adequate to support the author's argument?
    C. Is information balanced? Is more than one point of view given?

 
3. What do you still need to know? What hasn't the author answered?
 
4. Who is the intended audience?
 
5. What do you know about the reputation of the publisher or author?
 
6. Explain how the article fits or doesn't fit your research assignment.

Not All Sources Stick to the Facts

Not all sources stick to the facts. Some kinds of sources (textbooks and encyclopedias, for instance) summarize generally-accepted knowledge. Others are interpretations or reports of new research which may or may not find its way into the body of generally-accepted knowledge. Some sources are the raw material from which analysis and interpretation can be made. Some are fundamentally theoretical, explaining how to interpret and analyze things using a particular lens that can be trained on different subjects.

Cited from Inside Higher Ed Tacit Knowledge and Student Research by Barbara Fister

Criteria for Analyzing Information on the Free Web

PAACC: - Purpose - Authority - Accuracy - Currency - Content
 
Purpose

  • What is the purpose/mission of the site? Why is the information being presented?
  • Who is the audience?

Authority 

  • Who sponsors the site?  What is the domain (edu, com, gov, org)?
    Is the sponsor/organization suitable for your topic?
  • What do you know about the author? Are credentials/ professional affiliations given?  Is contact info given?

Accuracy

  • Is information presented clearly, accurately, objectively?
  • Is the information opinion, fact or propaganda? Is there distortion or bias? 
  • Is more than one viewpoint presented?  Is there a vested interest in a point of view?  
  • Does the information agree with other sources?

Currency

  • When was the information produced/updated? Is this current enough for your needs?
  • How up-to-date are the links? Do they work?

Content

  • From where was the information derived?
  • What sites can you link to from here?
  • How comprehensive is the site compared with others?
  • How well is the information organized? Easy to follow?
  • Is it a site supported by Advertising (this could influence content)? 
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