Most of us don't have the luxury of being
able to buy indiscriminately without having to make choices. Unless you
are rich, you have to decide which shirt or pair of shoes to buy. In your
mind, without probably being even completely conscious of it, you have a list
of criteria you tick through to help you make that difficult shopping decision.
Some of the criteria might be price, quality of the item, how versatile it is,
what else you own that will match it, if you own anything else like it.
Anyway, you get the picture. This usually is a fairly quick process and we
leave the store feeling pretty confident in our decision. There are
always a few exceptions to this, that impulse buy that ends up in the back of
your closet with the tags still on it. You know the one--it makes you
cringe each time you see it because of all the money you wasted on it.
Just as in shopping, we want to be smart about the information
sources we choose to use. Poor information choices don't cost us in the
same way poor shopping decisions do. There is not always a monetary
loss, but there are losses just the same--a lower grade, a bad decision based on
faulty information, a blow to your reputation when you spout off inaccuracies,
not getting that job because you went to the interview without getting your
facts straight first. The impact might be large or small, but don't fool
yourself into thinking information doesn't matter. Ever heard the phrase
"information is power?" Well maybe it should be "good information is
So, how does making good information
decisions become as easy and automatic as making good shopping decisions?
First, we need to arm ourselves with a list of criteria we can use. Open
the attached rubric for Evaluating Resources. You can print it out for future
reference. Be sure to close the document when you are done to return to
Evaluating Resources Rubric