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Evaluating Sources For The Academic Community

This guide is designed to help students select appropriate websites for his/her academic papers and projects.

Questions to ask...

Currency
  • 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  • Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?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 or dead?
Relevance
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your research question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information written at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or too advanced for your needs)
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
Authority
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on this topic?
  • Is there contact information provided, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the source?
    • .com (commercial)
    • .edu (educational)
    • .gov (U.S. government
    • .org (nonprofit organization)
Accuracy
  • 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?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?
Purpose
  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Do the authors 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?

Evaluate Websites using the CRAAP Test

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. 

Authority: The source of the information.

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. 

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

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You Try!