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Critical Thinking & Academic Research

This guide is created to aid you in your development of critical thinking skills and in your ability to conduct research using library resources.

Tip1 - Currency


Questions to Ask

When evaluating the "currency" factor of a particular resource, below are the first questions to pose that help identifying the currency level of the resource. 

  • When was the information published or posted? Is it recent? 
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
  • If it is a web resource question if there are broken links. 

Where should you look to determine the currency of a source?

Print & Online Sources

  • The date of publication is usually inside the title page of a print book, article, or magazine. 
  • Look for the last date updated link located an online resource. This information could be anywhere on the webpage, often at the bottom of it. 
  • The date of publication of an article or blog post from a website could be at the top of the page, near the title/author information. 

What to avoid

  • Avoid using resources with broken links and out-of-date information. Some disciplines require research on a topic that includes old dated historical materials - Check with your professor for the currency requirements.
  • Avoid using resources with no updated information on a specific issue. Check the facts. 

Exercise: Assess Currency

Understanding the importance of information timeline is part of the currency evaluation. 

Imagine that you are writing a paper for a Biology class on a topic: "Disease Resistance in Plants" Identify one resource that would be current to your research. Also, find one resource that you would see less current to your topic. Write one sentence explaining why you would or would not use each resource by critiquing the currency aspect. 


1- Xue, J. -., Takken, F. L. W., Nepal, M. P., Maekawa, T., & Shao, Z. -. (2020). Editorial: Evolution and functional mechanisms of plant disease resistance. Frontiers in Genetics, 11, 593240-593240.

2- STEWART, R. (1929, ). Farm relief by the aid of science. Barron's (Chicopee, Mass.)


G.R. Little Library

Elizabeth City State University