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Students: Evaluating Sources

Keyword Search

Always a good way to start looking for information 

You can use book subject headings to find additional resources on the same topic

Thesaurus - browse for more subject terms

BOOLEAN Terms

AND (limits search -fewer results)

OR (expands search)

NOT (keeps a word from appearing in results)

Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP test

CRAAP = Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. 

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?  

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's qualifications /credentials to write on the topic?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    •  examples:
      • .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government)
      • .org (nonprofit organization), or
      • .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda? objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Primary Sources

Original Documents created with event 

1st hand observations, accounts of the events, viewpoints

Examples: 

  • Interviews
  • Reports
  • Studies
  • Speeches
  • News footage
  • Creative works
  • Diary Entries

Secondary Sources

Works that analyze, assess, or interpret a historical event, era, or phenomenon - generally using primary sources

Interpretation of info usually written well after the event, reviews, or critiques

Examples: 

  • Journal articles
  • textbooks
  • Editorial articles
  • Biographies 
  • Literary criticism 
  • Book Reviews
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