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Library Research Guides

ENGWR 300+ - Professor Lovering (Spring 2020): Evaluating Sources

Website Evaluation Exercise

This article is of questionable value for academic research. Take a few minutes to explore the webpage and site. Use your own strategies, and the resources on this page to help identify why this article is of questionable value. Try to find 2-3 things.

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.

  Evaluating Internet Sources

Anyone can publish anything on the web, so it's extremely important to evaluate the information you find there. Follow these links for guidelines on how to evaluate a site.

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.