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Why Evaluate?

Knowing how to evaluate information can help you with research assignments as well as bigger life decisions

Knowing how to find relevant and accurate information can help you make informed decisions about graduate school, a new car purchase, financial aid, jobs, your health, and more.

Evaluating Sources

When doing research, it is important to find information that is reliable, accurate, and appropriate for your assignment. Some assignments may require you to use or limit certain sources such as:

In all cases, you should evaluate the information before you use it in your assignments.

Evaluating Resources Using the CRAAP Method

Criteria

Questions to Ask

Currency

  • When was the source written and published?
  • Has the information been updated recently?
  • Is currency pertinent to your research?

Relevance

  • Does the source cover your research topic comprehensively or only cover one aspect?
  • To what extent does the source answer your research question?
  • Is the source considered popular or scholarly?
  • Is the terminology and language used easy to understand?
  • Does the source meet the requirements of your research assignment?

Authority
 

  • Who is the author (person, company, or organization)?
  • Does the source provide any information that leads you to believe the author is credible or an expert on the topic?
  • Can you describe the author's background (experience, education, knowledge)?
  • Does the author provide citations? Do you think they are reputable?

Accuracy

  • Can facts or statistics be verified through another source?
  • Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate? Does it match the information found in other sources?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?

Purpose

 

  • What is the purpose or motive for the source (educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional, etc.)?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author pretending to be objective, but really trying to persuade, promote or sell something?
  • Does the source seem biased?