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Beyond the Writing Handbook: Exploring All Library Resources for Writing Support: Evaluating Resources

This guide is a companion to a faculty workshop presented on February 10, 2014. The LRC highlights resources to help support writing flag courses in the GC curriculum.

Evaluating Resources

Bilingual Studies Reveal Flaw In How Info Reaches Mainstream (NPR)

Criteria for Evaluating Resources

The CRAAP Test for Evaluating Resources

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions you can ask yourself in order to determine if an information source is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list of questions is not static nor is it complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So, what are you waiting for? Is your source credible and useful, or is it a bunch of . . . !

Currency: The timeliness of the resource.   Information is current and updated frequently

  • If relevant, when was the information gathered? 
  • When was it posted to the web/published in print? When was it last revised? 
  • Are links (if a website) functional and up-to-date?  Are resources listed still pertinent to the topic? 
  • Is there evidence of newly added information or links?

 Relevance/Coverage: The uniqueness of the content and its importance for your needs.  

  • What is the depth and breadth of the information presented? 
  • Is the information unique? 
  • Is it available elsewhere, in print or electronic format? 
  • Could you find the same or better information in another source? 
  • Who is the intended audience? Is this easily determined? 
  • Does the website/item provide the information you need? 
  • Your overall assessment is important. Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: The source of the resource.  Defines  who created the content,  the individual or group's credentials/expertise and provides contact information  

  • Who is the author/creator/sponsor? 
  • Are author's credentials listed? Does the author have a reputation? 
  • Is the author a teacher or student of the topic? 
  • Is there contact information, such as an e-mail address?
  • Has the author published works in traditional formats?
  • Is the author affiliated with an organization?
  • Does this organization appear to support or sponsor the page?
  • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information (if an electronic resource), if anything? Example: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.  

  • What is the source of the information?
  • Are the original sources of information listed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in independent sources or from your own knowledge?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typos?

Purpose: The presence of bias or prejudice/The reason the resource exists.  

  • Are possible biases clearly stated?  OR Are various points-of-view presented?
  • Is advertising content vs. informational content easily distinguishable?
  • Are editorials clearly labeled?
  • Is the purpose of the web page or resource stated?
  • Is the purpose to: inform? teach? entertain? enlighten? sell? persuade?
  • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information, if anything? Example: .com .edu .gov .org .net