* Not all that is published is useful
* Not all that is found is relevant for your paper
* Google does have lots of answers but not always the one you need
Before you decide on using a document to support your research paper you need to take a critical look at the information it contains.
The pertinence of a document depends on your specific needs and how you want to use it. A good way to determine if a document meets your needs is by using the CRAAP Test.
Posted with permission of the McMaster University Libraries
– When was the information published or posted?
– Has the information been revised or updated?
– Is the information current or out of date for your topic?
– Are the links functional?
– 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 elementary or advanced for your needs)?
– Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
– Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
– Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
– Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
– What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
– Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
– Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
– 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 biased or free of emotion?
– Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
– What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
– Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
– Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
– Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
– Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
Summary by the Bluford Library, North Carolina A&T State University.
(This section was in part inspired by the Web guide Evaluating Sources, produced by Mary Northrup at Maple Woods Library, Metropolitan Community College.)