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Guide for new students

Welcome to Hanken's Library! This guide is aimed for helping new students on all levels getting started using the Hanken Library services. Here you also find useful tips on how to search information in databases and how to use proper reference technique.

ABC of source criticism

Stay source critical to the information you find, especially when it comes to material freely available online. Always try to find and cite the primary source in your papers, instead of secondary sources where the information can be misinterpreted or false.

Pay attention to how your digital foot steps are stored in online search engines. This means that you will receive information based on who you are, your interests, your search history, your location and what sites you have visited before. 

The film below from (5:12) explains shortly how an Internet search works:

Watch an interactive presentation over how a Google search works:

Can I trust this information?

How to spot fake news:

  • Consider the source
    • Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and its contact info
  • Read beyond
    • Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What's the whole story?
  • Check the author
    • Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real?
  • Supporting sources?
    • Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story
  • Check the date
    • Reposting old news stories doesn't mean they're relevant to current events
  • Is it a joke?
    • If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure
  • Check your biases
    • Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgement
  • Ask the experts
    • Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site 

Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

Fact box of source criticism


 = a tendency to believe things that reinforces a persons previous beliefs or ideology.


= an artificial image or film produced by computers in order to seem true or real.


= false information being deliberately spread.

fake news

= invented information resembling real news but created with the goal to distort facts or to mislead the reader.

filter bubble

= can lead to a state of isolation where the information a person reads only mirrors one's existing beliefs or ideology.


= the spread of unverified information related to a specific crisis or event. Rapid and uncontrolled dissemination, leads to speculation or anxiety.

misinformation (or false information)

= the unintentional spread of wrong or misleading information.

primary source

= the source where the information or the research results are published for the first time.


= beliefs mistakenly considered as scientific, for example astrology.

secondary source = a source commenting on, analyzing, or summarizing existing research.
troll farm = a group of persons systematically spreading disinformation online.

Sources: Oxford English Dictionary and Nationalencyklopedin

Source criticism according to the SIFT-method

Source criticism according to the SIFT-method follows four steps: 

  • S - Stop. Does the source seem reliable, what do you know about the source from before?
  • I - Investigate the source. Search for more information on the source from other sources. Who has written the source and could there be a hidden agenda?
  • F - Find better coverage. Has the information been mentioned in other sources, especially sources you know deliver reliable facts or news?
  • T - Trace claims, quotes and media to the original context. Find primary sources confirming the information.

sift logo source criticism


Where to find the most cited articles?

Would you like to start your project by reading the most influential articles written on the topic? Make sure that you don't miss including the classics to your paper. For this you might want to find out which articles are the most cited.Try using a citation database. We have currently access to three citation databases:

How to check the quality of journals

Check the quality of a journal by using the rankings in the Finnish Publication Forum (Publikationsforum, Julkaisufoorumi JUFO). Journals ranked 1-3 contain peer reviewed articles. Articles published in journals ranked 0 (zero) have not undergone peer review.

UlrichsWeb is another tool for checking whether a certain journal includes a referee process.

If unsure, please ask your teacher or contact the library!

How to identify an academic text

An academic text is characterized by

  • presents research results
  • is aimed at experts within a specific field  (specialized language)
  • has a strict disposition (IMRaD=Introduction, Method, Result and Discussion)
  • Has a list of references and in-text citations.
  • has undergone a peer review process.
  • publisers are academic publishers, universities or other academic associations..
  • austere layout

A good scientific article is characterized by

  • publication in an high quality journal
  • is cited by others. Note that older articles may have more citations and that in extensive and fast-moving research areas articles generally have more citations.