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SOCY 122 ASO Section 700: Introduction to Academic Library Research

Evaluating & Citing Information

Up to now, we have primarily been focusing on how to find books and journal articles using the Library's research tools. In this module we consider two very important parts of the research process that occur after you have located a piece of information (book, journal article or website): evaluating and citing sources.

Evaluating Information

The CRAAP Test will help you determine if the sources you found are reliable. These are questions you can consider as you evaluate any piece of information you find:

Currency

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • If it's a web-based source, are the links functional?

Relevance

  • 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?)
  • Have you examined a variety of sources before determining to use this one?
  • Does the information/source meet your assignment requirements?

Authority

  • Who is the author/creator/publisher/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations provided? What are they?
  • What the author's qualifications or credentials in writing about this subject?
  • Does the information provide references or sources of data? 
  • If it's a web-based source, does the URL reveal anything about the source? Examples include .com .edu .gov

Accuracy

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Is the content primarily opinion? Or is it balanced with multiple points of view?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors 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?

The CRAAP Test was developed by librarian at California State University, Chico. Content for this guide also based on CRAAP Detection: Criteria for Evaluation Information, created by OTIS College of Art and Design Library.