Skip to main content

AHS 101 - Wellness

Evaluate Carefully

"...[O]nce we come up with a hypothesis to test, most of us embrace it too strongly. As a result, we don't read sources as objectively as we should. When you seek to support a particular answer, you quickly spot data and arguments that confirm it, but you'll be tempted to overlook or reinterpret data that contradict or even just qualify it. And when the data are ambiguous, you'll be tempted to resolve ambiguities in your favor.

You have to guard against those biases, both in your own work and in your sources."

(Booth, Colomb & Williams, The Craft of Research, 2003, p. 91)

The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions that you can use to help you evaluate information. Depending on your information need, different criteria will be more or less important

Currency:

The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of-date for my topic?
  • WEB SITE: Are the links functional?

Relevance:

The importance of the information for your needs.

  • Does the information relate to my topic or answer my question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for my needs)?
  • Have I looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one I will use?
  • Would I be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority:

The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliation given?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as publisher or e-mail address?
  • WEB SITE: Does the URL reveal anything about the source?  .com, .edu, .gov, .org, .net

Accuracy:

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

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • 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?

Purpose:

The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? pursuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Based on Meriam Library, California State University, Chico http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf

Look at the URL

.com - Commercial

.edu - Educational institution

.org - Organization or association

.gov - Government website

.ca - Canadian website

.uk - United Kingdom website

~ - Personal website


Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask

Steps and Guidelines for effectively evaluating websites. (From UC-Berkeley)