Here at Impact Infrastructure, we pride ourselves in our research and the research we use in Autocase.

The Toronto Research Hub
The Toronto Research Hub

We will not use any research before it’s time, there is a minimum threshold to ensure we use only quality, respected, and unbiased sources. So, we’ve created a source evaluation rubric from a compilation of university library resources (see below for references) to score each of our economic models in order to inform our users as to the quality of the research sources behind them. We’ll be adding this information to our documentation over the next few months.

Each of the 5 categories (purpose, authority, accuracy & reliability, currency, and coverage) receives a score from 1 to 3 and the average of all categories becomes the model’s the overall evaluation score.

Example

Score

1

2

3

Purpose Study may be biased to sell a product or ideology No perceptible bias Study conducted with an objective

point of view and no ulterior motive

What is the purpose or motivation of this source? Does the author have an objective point of view and no bias?
Authority Study with no verifiable author Qualified author, not peer-reviewed, posted online or unpublished thesis Study written by qualified author for a scholarly peer-reviewed journal or government publication
Is the author qualified in this field? Was this research conducted for a scholarly journal? Do others cite this source?
Accuracy & Reliability Study based on subjective data only reproducible in specific scenarios Study based on facts but may not be supported by other research Study reproducible with available

data and/or supported by other sources

Is the resource reliable? Are the results based on facts and hard data? Can the results be corroborated by another source?
Currency Study is out of date; newer research is available Study is several years old with little new corroborating research done since Study reflects current or timeless research
Is the research current and reflect the most up-to-date research?
Coverage Study covered only one situation or geography Study covers several situations but does not cover the topic in its entirety Meta-analysis of many studies, or literature review which together cover the topic comprehensively
Does the paper cover the topic comprehensively? Is it still under review? Was any information omitted to skew results?
Overall Evaluation      
1=Acceptable – Monitor; 2=Good – Review Periodically; 3=Excellent – Check Occasionally

Below is an example of a score card for the urban heat island model for which we recently reviewed the input sources. It receives a 2.4 which is “Good” on our evaluation scale.

IMG_20160528_121606772
Urban Heat Island Mitigating No Mow Area

Example Score Card

Purpose

3

What is the purpose or motivation of this source? Does the author have an objective point of view and no bias?

Authority

2

Is the author qualified in this field? Was this research conducted for a scholarly journal? Do others cite this source?
Accuracy & Reliability

2

Is the resource reliable? Are the results based on facts and hard data? Can the results be corroborated by another source?
Currency

2

Is the research current and reflect the most up-to-date research?
Coverage

3

Does the paper cover the topic comprehensively? Is it still under review?  Was any information omitted to skew results?

Overall Evaluation (1=Acceptable – Monitor; 2=Good – Review Periodically; 3=Excellent – Check Occasionally)

2.4

IMG_20160606_132525080
Beautiful Stormwater-Carved Road

References:

Cornell University Digital Literacy Resource. (2009). Source Evaluation Checklist. Retrieved from: https://digitalliteracy.cornell.edu/tutorial/dpl3221.html
Harvard College Writing Program. (2016). Evaluating Web Sources. Retrieved from Harvard University website: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847&pageid=icb.page346375
University of Maryland University CollegeOnline Guide to Writing and Research. (2011). The Research Assignment: How Should Research Sources by Evaluated? Retrieved from: https://www.umuc.edu/writingcenter/onlineguide/tutorial/chapter4/ch4-05.html
Lederer, N. (2016). How to Evaluate Journal Articles. Retrieved from Colorado State University website: http://lib.colostate.edu/howto/evaljrl2.html
University of British Columbia Library. (n.d.). Evaluating Information Sources. Retrieved from the University of British Columbia website: http://help.library.ubc.ca/evaluating-and-citing-sources/evaluating-information-sources/

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