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Evaluating Websites   Tags: craap  

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2015 URL: http://libguides.marin.edu/EvaluatingWebsites Print Guide
Evaluating Websites Print Page
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Evaluating Websites

Welcome!  This guide will help you evaluate information in order to decide if a website is appropriate for college-level research.  By using this guide, you will be able to:
  • Name the CRAAP test's 5 criteria
  • Evaluate a website using CRAAP test criteria
  • Articulate why evaluating information is a crucial part of the research process

Example Websites

Evaluate these websites using the CRAAP test.  Are they appropriate for college-level research?

 

Apply the CRAAP Test

Practicing applying the CRAAP test: 

 

Compare Two Online Documents

Baseball Comparison:

Compare this information about baseball in the Dominican Republic to this information.
Describe differences and explain why one is more appropriate for college research.

 

CRAAP Method of Evaluating Websites

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

 

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it...but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Evaluation Criteria

Currency: The 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?

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?
  • 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?

Authority: The 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

Accuracy: The 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? 

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?
 

Websites That Are Typically Not Recommended

If you have used the CRAAP test and you're still not sure if the source is from a quality website, ask a librarian or your professor about it!  

Here some sites that are typically NOT appropriate for college-level research:

  • ehow.com
  • wikihow.com
  • ask.com
  • answers.yahoo.com
  • buzzle.com

Websites You Can Trust

  • ipl2
    ipl2 is a resource with websites that have been checked by librarians. You can search for a website on a specific subject, or browse websites by subject area.
 

Google Search Tip

Google Technique: Limit Search to .edu
  1. Type words in Google search box and search as usual
  2. Scroll to bottom
  3. Click "Advanced Search"
  4. Scroll down and find "Site or Domain"
  5. Type:  .edu
  6. All results will be from .edu websites!

Warning: not everything with an .edu is writing by a professor. Sometimes students' work is found on .edu websites. How could you use information found in students' work?

This technique is also useful for searching .gov or .org

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