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Researcher Skills Toolkit

Locate and evaluate

5. Locate and evaluate information


As a member of the University you are able to access full text journal articles and books for your research in a number of ways.

Once you have located your information it is crucial that you evaluate what you have found and later use in your research.

There are several ways to locate full text journal articles and books for your research.

EndNote’s Find Full-Text (FFT) command provides the ability to select records in an EndNote Library and then to automatically retrieve and attach PDF files. EndNote must be configured before running the FFT Command for the first time.

While this feature does not work perfectly, it can save considerable time in tracking down full- text documents.

Factors to consider when using FFT:

  • It will only locate journal articles
  • The University of Newcastle Library must have a current journal subscription for EndNote to access the required article
  • The article may be too old to have a PDF available online
  • The article may be ‘buried’ in a database which does not allow individual articles to be located
  • The journal may have embargoed access to current articles
  • The publisher website may not support or allow this capability
  • Proxy or firewall issues can prevent access
  • EndNote records which include a DOI within the DOI field will retrieve more full text. When downloading from databases ensure you select the option to include the DOI in downloaded records, and ensure that the DOI is imported into the DOI field.
More information For more information see our Introduction to EndNote Guide (PDF).

If the EndNote Find Full text command does not find full text (or you have not used EndNote), check Library Search to determine whether the Library subscribes to the relevant journal. Either: Enter the title of the journal in Library Search to determine whether the library has a subscription. Follow the links through to the journal website, then use the volume, issue, and page numbers to locate the article and download Or: Load the Lean Library browser plugin then search Google Scholar for the article. If the University Library has a subscription, you will be provided with access to the article.

If the full text is not found after running the EndNote Find Full text command or via Library Search, you can request copies of journal articles via Inter Library Loan Request.

First check whether the University of Newcastle Library has access to the item in print or online via Library Search.

If the book you need is not available through our Libraries there are always other options for access.

For additional help using Library Search check the Library Search Help Guide

An essential part of the research process is to objectively evaluate information gathered to determine its credibility, accuracy and validity.

The quality of your research depends on the quality of the information you use. 

The following frameworks are commonly used to evaluate information: 



Useful for evaluating books and journal articles. Consider the relevance of a resource based upon the following criteria: 

  • Timeliness
  • Relevance 
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose






Check the Resource Evaluation Library Guide for more information, including online resources and quizzes. 







Useful for evaluating resources where not a lot of detail is known about the author or organisation, e.g., news media, websites, reports, and social media. 

SIFT stands for: 

  • Stop 
  • Investigate the source 
  • Find other information 
  • Trace the claims


AACODDS Checklist

Useful tool for evaluating grey literature 
AACODDS stands for: 

  • Authority 
  • Accuracy 
  • Coverage 
  • Objectivity 
  • Date 
  • Significance 



More details about the AACODDS Checklist

The ability to think critically and approach information objectively is an important academic skill. To critically evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and validity of a piece of information, consider the following: 

  • Identify the main points or arguments  
  • Evaluate each part of the source i.e. the methodology, the discussion, the findings/conclusions 
  • Analyse the arguments the author is making 
  • Approach information objectively and evaluate what is being said 
  • Does it disagree with the criteria you have selected? 
  • Can you see any weaknesses or gaps in the argument? 
  • Is there data or other research provided to support the argument? 
  • Has it highlighted something you had not investigated? 

Deciding what to use 

Not everything that you find will fit your criteria exactly. Once you have evaluated and analysed the information, you can determine the relevance of each source.  

Consider and document the following: 

  • Will the source be used in your research? 
  • Why has it been included or excluded? 
  • Which part of your research does it address? 
  • What are the key concepts identified in the source? 
  • Screening and critical analysis tools used in your research

There are several screening and critical appraisal tools you can use in a Systematic Review to assist with your appraisal.

Check the Appraisal, Extraction and Synthesis section of the Systematic Review Library Guide for more details. 

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