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Library Research Guides

ENGWR 300 - Professor Flynn (Spring 2020): Evaluating Sources

CRAAP Test Plus

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

clock

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

puzzle piece

  • 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 the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

People

  • Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)?

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

target

  • 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 unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

Money

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

+Plus: How is the information impacted by the dominant culture? 

infinity

  • Who benefits from the story that is being told?
  • Whose voices, concerns, and experiences are included? Whose are excluded?
  • What assumptions are made? What unexamined beliefs does the author appear to have? What is the author unconscious/unaware of? 
  • What power dynamics are at work?

Original CRAAP Test created by Chico State Librarians. Plus questions inspired by the work of Angela Pashia.

Comparing Library Databases and Web Information

OneSearch - Library Databases  
  Web Search Engines
Image result for google images
 
Types of Information Retrieved
  • Scholarly journal articles
  • Magazine / Newspaper articles
  • Conference papers, Ph.D. dissertations
  • Books and Ebooks
  • Everything published on the open and indexed web
  •  Commercial sites (.com or .net); educational sites (.edu); governmental sites  (.gov); organizations’ sites (.org)
  • Few free scholarly journal articles and books
 When to Use
  • Best for college level research
  • Best for academic research
  • When you need to find credible information quickly
  • When you are writing a research paper
  • Best for non-academic and general searches
  • A good place to start when you are doing research: get a main idea of your topic, and related terms
  • Information needs to be evaluated
Authorship
  • Scholars / Researches / Professionals
  • Anyone
 Reliability/Creditability
  • Content is evaluated for accuracy and credibility by subject experts, researchers and publishers
  • Content is reviewed and recommended by faculty and librarians
  • No review/editorial process with regard to content.  
  • Must evaluate each source by yourself
Accessibility
  • Full text articles free to LRCCD students, faculty, and staff
  • Library databases subscriptions are paid by the library
  • Information is often free, but some sites do charge
Usability
  • More control over your results: user can specify advanced search criteria; full text, date, scholarly, format, etc.
  • Databases usually include a citation tool to automatically create a citation for the article
  • Millions of search results: not organized 
  • Lack of subject focus results in irrelevant
  • No citation tool available.

Adapted from the  Illinois Institute of Technology, Paul V. Galvin Library.