Evaluating research sources for your PAT

Once you have composed the research questions in Phase 1 of your PAT you must find resources that contain information regarding each research question. These sources must be evaluated, the intention is that you ensure that your research is based on “quality” information.

You are required to evaluate 3 of your sources – two website sources and one source that is not a website. The Learner Guide provides you with examples of how to lay the information out in a table:

AuthorityThe ‘validity’ or ‘credentials’ of the publisher or author(s)
– who is this person: a scientist, doctor, professor?
CurrencyThe date on which the material was published or updated
AccuracyThe correspondence of the information with other sources
ObjectivityAny presence of prejudice, bias, skewing of information, et cetera
CoverageHow extensively the material covers the topic
Sample table

Sometimes this information is not readily available in the source material. If for example the date on which a webpage is created or last updated does not appear on the page, inspect the source code, and check to see if the relevant date exists in the meta tags.


  1. Open the webpage in Chrome
  2. Right-click on the page & click on the “View page source” option.
  3. Press CNTRL+F on the keyboard to search the source code for meta tags:
    • search for: date
    • search for: author

Your search might then return the following commonly used meta tags:

<meta name=“author” content=“Another Learner”>
<meta name=“description” content=“Grade 12 PAT website for Computer Applications Technology”>

PAT Questionnaire

Phase 2 of your PAT requires you to create and execute a questionnaire.

Create a questionnaire as a one-page Word document. Your goal is to collect data that you will be able to analyse as required – most importantly: you need numeric data!

Tip: if your name and surname & the name of your school appear in the footer it will be easier to keep track of the paperwork!

Create a sub-heading: “Biographical questions”. This set of questions gathers information about the respondent. Include a minimum of 4 questions:

  • Age (in years)
  • Gender
  • Area of residence
  • Race
  • Employment status

Create a second sub-heading: “Topic questions” (in an automatically numbered list):

  • You need a minimum of 5 questions:
    • 4 closed questions,
      • of which only one is a Yes/No option, and
      • two of which must have at least 3, but preferably more options
    • 1 open question
  • You MUST include instructions (or an example):
    • “Tick as many boxes as is appropriate”
    • “Circle only one option”
    • “Rate 1 to 10, 1 being least interested and 10 being extremely interested”

Use symbols etc. for check-boxes.

Your check-boxes should be to the left of their labels like so:

▢ Yes

▢ No

This makes it far easier to align the option. If you have many options, try laying them out using columns:

▢ Option 1 ▢ Option 5
▢ Option 2 ▢ Option 6
▢ Option 3 ▢ Option 7
▢ Option 4  

Use Tab stops with Leader lines to provide a place for the respondent to write in response to open questions.

Closed Questions

A closed question is a question which:

  • Is almost always asked and answered by selecting a prescribed answer from some type of finite list (has a limited number of possible responses):
    • Check boxes
    • Radio buttons
    • Drop-down lists
    • Range selection
  • Can be answered directly with a fact

These are easier for respondents to answer and easier for you to capture and analyse – this results in more accurate data.

Open Question

An open question usually requires an opinion from a respondent. Your questionnaire must provide lines to indicate where the respondent should write their answer. You may add and instruction such as: “Describe in a short sentence…”.


You will find the Excel and Access sections of the PAT easier to complete if you pay close attention to the type of data you are collecting using your questionnaire.

This can be achieved by ensuring that most of your questions result in numerical data that can be analysed (closed questions make this easier).

Open questions are difficult (but NOT impossible) to analyse.


Each question must have a clear instruction:

  • Tick one option only
  • Select one or more options by entering an “X” in the box
  • Your age in numbers
  • Rate you knowledge on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “poor” and 10 being “excellent”.