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Library Orientation

How to Evaluate Web Resources

Thanks to the Internet, you have countless resources available at your fingertips. The Internet is an excellent tool for your research, but unfortunately, not all information found online is accurate or appropriate to use for schoolwork. You must first evaluate a website if you want to use it to determine if it appears reliable. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see whether a website is credible or if it's "full of CRAAP":

The CRAAP TEST

 Currency:  The timeliness of the website

  • 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 applicability of the website

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your questions?
  • 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 one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority:  The source of the website

  • 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 publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?  (.com .edu .gov .org .net)

Accuracy:  The truthfulness of the website

  • 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?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?

Purpose:  The reason for the website

  • 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? 

 

Adapted from California State University, Chico – Meriam Library               http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf