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Evaluating Sources: Overview

Evaluating Sources Overview

When researching a topic, you may find a lot of results, but is it all good information? The critical evaluation of sources is an important piece of the research process. When selecting sources, you should take into account the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. This is known as the CRAAP test.

Below are a series of questions to help you evaluate the information you find.

Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test

Currencythe timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico. Link here to PDF.

Relevancethe importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico. Link here to PDF.

Authoritythe source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Examples:
    • .com (commercial),
    • .edu (educational),
    • .gov (U.S. government),
    • .org (nonprofit organization),
    • .net (network)

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico. Link here to PDF.

Accuracythe reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico. Link here to PDF.

Purposethe reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico. Link here to PDF.

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Tutorial

Excellent INTERACTIVE tutorial created by UVM on evaluating web sources. Link to Tutorial

Tutorial Overview

In this tutorial, you will learn about a standard evaluation criteria that will help you quickly and accurately evaluate information.

After completing this tutorial, you will have practiced using a standard evaluative criteria commonly employed by academic researchers.

What you will learn

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:

  • quickly analyze and critically evaluate information
  • identify specific areas to pay close attention to when analyzing a resource
  • build confidence in your ability to successfully evaluate your own research results

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Evaluating Sources for Credibility

What does it mean for a source to be credible? Why is it important to use these sources? How can you tell if a source is credible?

Watch this brief video created by NCSU Library on Evaluating Sources for Credibility. 

Domain Name Lookup

Type in the domain name / URL you wish to have knowledge about (without the "http://" or "www"). Then, click inquire. The resulting data will include such things as hosting information, traffic details, etc.

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