English 001 A (Kincheloe): Research Paper: Evaluating Information

 

The Information Timeline

Graphic showing timeline of information

 

Evaluating Websites:  Applying the CRAAP Test
(Borrowed from   Library - California State University, Chico)

 

CurrencyThe timeliness of the information.

  • 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?
  • This article uses outdated information: http://www.vegsource.com/harris/b_cancer.htm

 

RelevanceThe importance of the information for your needs. 

  • 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 basic or too 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?
  • This site has good information, but the it is not relevanthttp://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/adventure_pass/weird-but-true/freaky-food/#WBT1600x90048.png

 

AuthorityThe source of the information.

  • 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 a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?  Examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net
  • This site appears legitimate but we cannot be sure about the source:  http://healthylongevity.blogspot.com/2014/02/death-by-veggiephobia.html

 

AccuracyThe reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

  • 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? 
  • This site cites data and statistics with questionable validity: http://bragg.com/healthinfo/fluoridefacts.html

 

Purpose: The reason the information exists. 

  • 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?
  • Look at the funding and copyright information at the bottom of this website: http://www.beefnutrition.org/
 
Why Library Databases?
 
 Library Databases:
  • Are paid for by the Library so that you can have free access to scholarly information.
  • Content is evaluated for authority and accuracy.
  • Information is stable, meaning it doesn't disappear after a period of time.
  • Through subject pages it is easy to find databases with information that relates specifically to your topic
  • Offer options to quickly limit or expand your search results to find the best articles for your topic.

The Internet:

  • Many sources are free, but others require you to pay.
  • Information is not evaluated for accuracy and may be incorrect, misleading or biased.
  • Websites come and go.
  • Is not organized.
  • Search engines (like Google) often return an overwhelming number of results.  These search engines offer no quick way of narrowing your results to ensure they relate to your topic.
 
Adapted from: