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Evaluating Sources: Home

Learn how to recognize whether the information you are accessing is credible and appropriate for your assignment.

Why Do We Need to Evaluate Sources?

Evaluating sources and information has never been more important. With so much information available online through so many sources, it can be hard to figure out which ones are credible. When researching for an assignment it is vital to assess the sources you plan to use in order to ensure your own work will be considered credible and accurate. Using inaccurate or unreliable information can be avoided if you know how to evaluate your sources.

The CRAAP Test

CRAAP is an acronym used to evaluate your sources. Learn more about this useful test by watching this short video and downloading the worksheet.

The ABC Test

This simple ABC test can help determine the reliability and credibility of a source of information.

 

A = Authority

  • Is the author a subject area expert? If there is no author look for an organization that is responsible for publishing the information.
  • Are they qualified to write on this topic?
  • What are the credentials of the author? Where do they work, where did they study, etc.
  • Is there contact information available for the author?
  • If you search for information on the author can you find it readily available?

Bottom line = Sources that lack authors or organizations should be avoided. If an author's credentials or background do not stand up to scrutiny you should not use the source.

B = Bias

  • Why was this source created? To inform, instruct, sell, or entertain?
  • Is the information based on facts or opinion?
  • Does the information seem impartial and objective?
  • Are there references and citations used? 

Bottom line = Sources that are clearly biased or intended for a purpose other than the one you are looking for should not be used. Look for sources that cite their sources and quote the works of others.

C = Currency

  • When was the source created or posted?
  • Has the source been revised or updated?
  • Are the links throughout the work still active (if an online source)?
  • Does your assignment require current sources or are historical sources acceptable?

Bottom line = For some assignments you may need to rely on historical information, but most assignments will require current research as well. Sources that are outdated or have not been updated in some time may be a waste of your time.

What Does Peer-Reviewed Mean?

Peer-reviewed articles are works that have been scrutinized by other experts in the same field as the author. The purpose of peer review is to ensure the information being presented is accurate and unbiased. It helps filter out sources that do not meet the standards of scientific or industry quality and processes. 

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