Consider your needs
Depending on the topic you are researching, it may be necessary for you to choose a date span for the information you need. For example, if you need information on purchasing trends you will need to look at five or ten years worth of data. Whereas if you need ideas on predicting future technological developments you will need to limit your search to the very latest information. In other words, some information remains valid over time, while other information may become discredited or obsolete.
Tip: Currency of information is more important in fields which are rapidly and continuously developing such as information technology. However, uniqueness of a topic or in-depth analysis is sometimes more important than being on the cutting edge!
It is important that you can find out when the information was produced or published. When looking at websites it is not always possible to determine how up-to-date the information is because the webmaster has not included a date on the page. Where this is the case, think critically about what you read and judge if it makes sense to you. Then try to find another site that can confirm this information.
Tip: Where a site gives a date - check if it's an update date or a create date. Decide if the date given is suitable for your needs.
SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.