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Evaluating Sources

How to identify what sources you should use for your research

Evaluating Information Resources

How do you know if a source is good enough to use? Do the authors have any biases? Is the resource a popular one or a peer-reviewed, scholarly resource? Watch the videos below and then follow up by reviewing the questions below which provide a way for you to evaluate the sources you find, whether online or via the library's collections

The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP Test is a series of questions to help you evaluate the information you find online. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Scholarly vs Popular Sources

Odds are your Instructors have asked you to find scholarly resources for your papers and assignments, but what does that mean exactly? How can you tell the difference between scholarly and more popular information resource? Why is this important?

  • Scholarly sources -- intended for use in support of conducting in-depth research, often containing specialized vocabulary and extensive references to sources. The content has been reviewed by academic peers to ensure the reliability of methods used and the validity of findings. Scholarly sources help answer the "So What?" question in academic writing and lay the foundation for discovering connections between variables, issues, or events.
  • Popular sources -- intended for a general audience of readers, they are written typically to entertain, inform, or persuade. Popular sources help you answer who, what, when, and where questions and are essential for finding information about current events or issues. Popular sources range from research-oriented [but lacking complete citations to sources] to special interest, agenda-driven publications.