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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Reference Interview and Instruction in Reference Training

This guide accompanies the U of I Library graduate assistant training session.

Evaluating Search Results

When the patron has a set of results that appear to be relevant work with them to assess and evaluate the results.

  • Click on individual titles. 
  • Read the abstract. Is the information relevant to the search? 
  • Ask the patron to tell you which articles look most relevant to their information need. 
  •  Make note of the Subject Terms present in relevant articles. The patron should write these down and use them in their searching.

See the following for additional guidance on helping patrons evaluate their sources:

Managing Search Results

Working with the patron, make sure they understand how to:

  • Save relevant articles and retrieve the full text
  • Use database/catalog features to locate additional information
  • Locate and search additional library resources
  • Contact a subject specialist for additional assistance

Open and Closed Questions

Open Questions

  • Which of these results look appropriate for your research?
  • What did you see in this search result that made it look relevant or useful?
  • What other sorts of information would be helpful in addition to what we've found?

Closed Questions

  • Does this seem like enough relevant information for your paper?
  • Do you know how to revise your search?
  • Would you like to try searching some other places?