I have the privilege of being involved in this project as both a researcher and a participant.
The researcher-me is focused on information literacy and how we can understand this complex concept and space more effectively. The teacher-me is focused on ensuring that my students are exposed to new ways of thinking about information and developing skills to become effective consumers and creators of quality information.
Knowing that another core course my students take in their business degree covers finding and engaging with journal articles, I decided that exploring professional information in my course would be beneficial, as they are likely to be engaging with various source types as business professionals. We also know that once they leave study, they are likely to lose access to academic databases and may have to rely on Google or other tools to access information in their workplaces.
To do this, my trusted team of Massey business librarians, Kath Chisholm, Fiona Diesch and Carla Jeffery and I created an online learning module to introduce students to source types considered to be quality professional information. Within this module we introduced a new framework which evolved from adapting business ‘CHARTER’ for the New Zealand context.
The Rauru Whakarare Evaluation Framework
Carla chose the Rauru Whakarare pattern as it signifies interconnectedness, with rough edges to indicate that the journey is not always smooth; it makes sense only when all the parts come together as a whole. This metaphor captures the complexity of the source evaluation process and provides a platform for critical and reflective engagement with this process.
By integrating Māori terminology into the framework, we are better able to show how the whole information process is connected together and does not run in a linear order. The framework provides a holistic view of the source evaluation process that embodies the connectedness of background, origins, authority, content and lens of information we are accessing.
The framework consists of 5 key concepts and includes a set of questions drawn from traditional checklists to explore each concept more fully.
1. Whakapapa identifies and connects the various layers we should consider when evaluating sources. It captures the pedigree of the source and how it connects to the topics and all other sources being selected. It asks questions relating to why the source was published and who it was created for, what the information context is, and how relevant it is to Aotearoa NZ.
2. Orokohanga considers the origin of the source. Questions focus on when and where the information was published, and how current the information is in terms of date published and value to the discipline or profession.
3. Mana connects to the credibility or standing within the community of the author or organisation. We ask, ‘why should I believe and trust in the views, values and ideals of the person or organisation who created this information?’ Mana also connects to the accuracy of the information in terms of content and language (for example, inclusive language and no grammatical or spelling errors).
4. Maramatanga means enlightenment and suggests that the source should positively impact the wider community of understanding and add value to the existing conversations within a particular topic area. It connects to understanding, usability and relevance of the source. Information may have quality whakapapa, orokohanga and mana, but we also need to consider whether it closely relates to our information need – for example, the topic of an assignment. Maramatanga considers the appropriateness of the information for our purpose, audience and context.
5. Aronga or the lens is applied when looking at information sources. It also means considering the lens of the information creator and what this means for the mana of the source. Aronga connects to ‘perspective’ or ‘direction’ and to the ways in which you approach and consider inherent biases, or strengths and weaknesses in an information source. Aronga is your ability to recognise the information creator’s bias and perspectives, and to also determine whether they are open to considering a topic or issue through a different lens or to recognise the validity of other perspectives, even if they don’t agree with them.
If you would like more information about the framework, or would like to use it in your own contexts, feel free to contact us and we can have a chat about your needs. We also welcome any feedback on the framework and its usefulness as a source evaluation tool for Aotearoa NZ.
Subject Librarian, Massey University
Senior Lecturer, Massey University