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Columbia: Evaluating Sources

Why evaluate?

Why is it important to evaluate sources for credibility?

Quality information is only as good as the source from which you found it.

High quality information will always benefit your academic and professional career.

No standards exist to ensure the quality and accuracy of information on a web page.

Anyone can create and publish an Internet site, regardless of subject expertise or knowledge.

Print and online resources are often created to persuade the reader.

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

Scholarly articles – written by experts in the field. These experts will spend months or years researching prior to publishing an article. The purpose of a scholarly article is to publicize a discovery or inform colleagues

Popular articles – written by journalists. The author will spend a few weeks or days researching an article. The purpose of a popular article is to entertain their customers.

Evaluating Sources Tutorial from Vaughan Memorial Library

Permission of use granted by Vaughan Memorial LibraryPermission of use granted by Vaughan Memorial Library

The C.R.A.A.P. Test

Is the information recent enough for your topic?

  • Has it been published in the last x years?
  • If you have a historical research topic, was it published around the date of the original event?

Does the information apply to your topic?

  • Does all of the information apply to your topic? or only part of it?
  • Is the information general or detailed?
  • Is the information balanced or biased?

Who authored this information?

  • Was it a single person or several people?
  • Was it a corporation or organization?Are their credentials provided?
  • What is their reputation or expertise?

Where does the information come from?

  • Who published the information?
  • Was it peer-reviewed?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source?
  • Are methods or refrences provided?

What was the intent of the author, and how is the author connected to the information?

  • Who is the intened audience?
  • Is the information intended to inform, persuade, sell, entertain,...?
  • Is this a first-hand account of an event or research?
  • Does the author have a vested interest in the topic?
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