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WR121 Sean Warren

All the research resources you need to complete your assignment - and beyond!

Evaluate information

Sean's questions for evaluating a source:

  1. Who is the author? What are his or her credentials? (Remember to Google!)
  2. Where & by whom is the material published? What is known about the company, university, website, or publisher?
  3. How current is the information?
  4. Is there a bibliography or links to other sources?
  5. Is the source carefully documented?
  6. For books: how did critics review this book? (Use Google Scholar and the library databases)
  7. Do other sources refer back to this source? (Use Google Scholar to find out)
  8. Is this a primary (original text, research study, or interview) or secondary source (commentary on original text, study, or interview)?
  9. Is the source intended for a general audience or a knowledgeable one? What can you tell about the intended audience?
  10. How will this source help you with this paper? (Be specific.)

Abe Lincoln, president and CCC alumEvaluating information is especially important when completing academic research assignments in college because you will be evaluated on the quality of sources you use. The CRAP Test is a helpful tool to use when deciding if a source is high-quality and credible. CRAP stands for currency, reliability, authority and purpose. These are the four areas you'll consider when evaluating a source.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you go through the evaluation process.

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the item been updated?
  • Is the information current enough for your topic?

Reliability

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is is balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
  • Is the information accurate and well-edited?

Authority

  • Who is the creator or author?
  • What are his/her credentials? Can you find any information about the author's background?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable? What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is the information fact or opinion? Does the author list sources or cite references?
  • Is the information biased? Do the author or publisher seem to be pushing an agenda or particular side?
  • Is the author/publisher trying to sell you something? Are there advertisements? If so, are they clearly stated?
     
CRAP Test adapted from Beestrum, M., & Orenic, K. (2008). The CRAP test. Available from http://commons.emich.edu
Abe adapted from public domain photo Abraham Lincoln [image]. (1863). Available from https://upload.wikimedia.org/

Handouts and worksheets

More help

There are many ways to evaluate information sources. Some of our other favorites are listed below.

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