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Library Research Guides

POLS 304 - Professor Tabares (Fall 2020): Evaluating Sources

From your Assignment

The information on this page can be used to help you evaluate sources so you can incorporate credible and appropriate sources into your project.

For this project, your annotated bibliography will include a total of at least five (5) potential sources that represent a variety of types - news and magazine articles, government documents, books, academic journal articles, videos, interviews, etc.. It should be the result of the initial background research you conduct to develop your research question and evaluate the availability and quality of potential sources relevant to this project.

Start by completing the following tasks on this page:

  1. Watch What’s the difference between a Research Database and Google? video. 
  2. Read the Difference between Newspapers, Magazines and Journals.
  3. Watch the CRAAP Test video.
  4. Review the CRAAP Test Plus for criteria to use to ensure the sources you use are credible and appropriate. 

 

What’s the difference between a Research Database and Google?

Difference between Newspapers, Magazines and Journals

Newspaper Articles

  • are written by journalists
  • contain current events
  • are brief (usually a few paragraphs and up to a page)
  • are written for the general public
  • do not contain any references or footnotes
  • articles are usually reviewed by newspaper editors (many online newspapers are not!)

Periodical

Magazine Articles

  • are written by journalists
  • contain current events and general interest articles
  • are brief (usually 3-5 pages)
  • are written for the general public
  • generally do not contain any references or footnotes
  • articles are reviewed by magazine employees before they are published

Journal Articles

  • are written by subject experts in the field
  • report the results of a recent study or provide in-depth academic analysis of a topic
  • are written for experts and scholars in the field
  • tend to be long and in-depth (usually 10 - 30 pages)
  • include references or footnotes
  • articles are reviewed by peers before they are published

CRAAP Test Video

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?
  • 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.