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American Studies Resource Guide: Evaluating Sources
Some things to consider when evaluating information sources:
1.Who is the author?
- First of all, the author should be identified. The author can be one or more people or organizations.
- At a minimum, in order to be considered credible, the author of the information source should have credentials and expertise, such as academic degrees and experience, relevant to the topic.
- Even authors with credentials and expertise in a field may be biased or may have made a mistake in their research or writing. The most credible information sources are those that have been reviewed and accepted by a group of experts in the field.
2.Who published this information?
- The organization(s) that published and/or sponsored the information source should be identified.
- The most credible information sources are those that have been published in order to present balanced, unbiased coverage of a topic or at least to present both sides of an issue.
- The least credible sources are those that have been published in order to promote a certain point of view.
- Check the publication for information about the organization(s) that published/sponsored the information source. This can usually be found in the front or back of a printed book or journal, or in the "About Us" or "Mission" section of a web site. You may need to look a little further to determine whether or not the organization has a hidden agenda or bias.
3.Is the content of the information source relevant for your project or paper?
- It should cover the specific aspects of your topic.
- It should be up-to-date, if timeliness is critical for your topic. (Check the publication date or, for web sites, the date of the last update.)
- It should be well thought out, well presented, and well supported with credible sources.
- It should be unbiased. (A bias can be obvious or subtle. It can be hard to perceive a bias if you tend to agree with the arguments presented. If you are uncertain, check with an expert in the field, such as your professor.)
- American University Library Information Literacy Tutorial on Evaluating Information - Detailed explanations of what to look for when evaluating information sources
- Humboldt University Library's General Criteria for Evaluating Information.
- CRAAP website evaluation and worksheet.
|Applying the CRAAP Test to Evaluating Web Sites.pdf||267.03 KB|
|Applying the CRAAP Test to Evaluating Web Sites-WS (2).pdf||94.22 KB|
Last updated by on 11/07/2007