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UCQ

Evaluate Information

How to evaluate the sources you find.

Why evaluate information?

Currently, there is a chance that you have read something that may be 'fake,' or news that has not happened. Information is everywhere on the Internet, some of which is invalid, biased, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate for use or to repeat.

All information needs to be evaluated.

A basic checklist to evaluate information

An easy way to recall how to evaluate information is to use a memory aid like another word. For evaluating information use like CRAAP. Suggested questions provide clarity to the term. 

C = CURRENCY - The timeliness of the information

  • Does your topic require a specific date, recent dated information, or will older sources be best? 
  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • In the case of a website, are the links functional?

R = RELEVANCY -  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 written for school children or professors at university?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable to defend it when citing this source in your research paper?

A = AUTHORITY - The source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or an email address?
  • For a website, does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net 

A = ACCURACY - The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information originally come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence; has it 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?
  • Is the text free of spelling, grammar, or typographical errors? 

P = PURPOSE - The reason why the information exists

  • Is the information 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? 

 

Adapted from  Blakeslee, S. (2010). Evaluating information: Applying the CRAAP test. Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. Retrieved from https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf