Friday, March 27, 2009

Information Quality
by Sam Steven

Describe how information from different sources may vary in quality, and how to differentiate good quality information from poor quality.

Information quality is an integral factor of research as it is for any organization or business. Unfortunately the quality of information varies comprehensively. There are so many revenues to collect data from in the modern age that not all of it is of reliable or of relevant significance to the researcher or the intended audience.

“Information quality is a slippery subject. Although many might disagree, there is rarely a single absolute truth. In many cases, what is truth to me, may be nonsense to you. The best resources for a medical researcher are useless to the elementary school student and vice versa.”(Fenton 1997)

Common sources of information include: text books, internet sites, magazine, newspaper and journal articles, interviews or any number of the like. As the source field is so broad so is the quality of the information. Some of the factors contributing to the information quality include:

  • The relevance of the data to the topic
  • If the information is based upon opinion or belief – for example if the author is an advocate with an inbuilt bias to a specific theory the information may be rendered void or inaccurate at best for lack of consideration to an alternative or more accurate theory
  • Appropriate amount of information – “the extent to which the volume of information is appropriate to the task at hand” (Kahn, Strong, Wang 2002)
  • Lack of factual evidence to support information
  • The accessibility of the information – “the extent to which information is available or easily and quickly retrievable” (Kahn, Strong, Wang 2002)
  • The credibility of the source (author/publisher)
  • The date which the information was published (whether or not the information is up to date may bear relevance to its accuracy)
  • Lack of clarity in which the way the information is presented
  • “Evaluation of the quality of the information” (Fenton 1997)

It may take some time before the researcher is successfully able to distinguish the quality of the information. By scanning titles, author/publisher, date etc, you may establish some idea of the content of a particular article. If it covers relevant data to the topic the article can be further analysed for specific statements which could contribute to the research.

Similar issues to those above arise which the researcher must take into consideration whilst analysing the data in order to present the findings to their audience.

‘In many cases, the problem occurs when organizations fail to analyze the data they have. When the analysis is lacking, key information is lost. Other times, they add errors to the data, the analysis or the presentation. Sometimes they have everything they need, just not when or where they need it.’ (Godfrey 1991)


Fenton. S.J. (1997) University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science. Retrieved March 23 from

Kahn.B.K, Strong.D.M, Wang.R.Y. (2002) Information Quality, Products and Service Performance. Retrieved March 24 from

Godfrey.A.B. (2002) Quality Management. Retrieved March 24 from

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Research Process

The Research Process

The first step of the research process is to come up with the question which we intend to research. This is based on a refined topic or idea, usually one we have a general interest in.

The second step is called a literature review. During this process you need to collect information that is relevant to your idea/question. This information should come from an array of sources including previous research about your topic. The more the researcher is able to read and learn about the topic the better their understanding will be.

Methodology is the proces of organising what methods you intend to use in order to collect and collate your data into answering your question. Become clear on your goals and what you want to achieve during the research.

“Defining the goals and objectives of a research project is one of the most important steps in the research process. Clearly stated goals keep a research project focused.” (Walonick 1993)

Methods should include how you will approach the data collection aspect, what resources, equipment, funding, (if applicible) and to identify any problems you may run into during your investigation and how you can overcome these if required to do so.

Once all the information has been collated, the researcher is required to analyse the interpretations of the information gatthered. Your final analysis and interpretation on your findings should include all perspectives on the topic in order to attain a fair presentation of the research.

You are now able to draw a conclusion to your question by using the evidence from your research. This should be a statement which represenets your findings and in turn answers your question.

“Once the research project’s been conducted we then obviously like to publicise the research so that people can make use of it.” (Keogh 2007)

The final step is Discussion. This is the process of sharing your research with a wider audience.


o Science Learning. Keogh. J. July 2007. Retrieved March 14 2009 from

o StatPac. Walonick. D. S. Ph.D. 2003. Retrieved March 14 2009 from

o Assessment notes: Guidelines on writing a research proposal. Molloy. F. 2009.