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Evaluating Web Sources: Why Evaluate?

Evaluating Web Sources

Why Evaluate?

With the popularity of the internet, anyone can post and share information online. As the number of websites available to the public increases, it is important to know how to identify sources you an trust.

Evaluating Information

Evaluation Criteria

Are you wondering if the information you find online is reliable enough for college research? Try using the following evaluation criteria to determine if the website or online resource is credible.

Does the information source you are evaluating pass the test? 

Currency: Timeliness of the Information 

When was the information published or posted?
Is there a date given for when the site was last updated?
Do the links still work?

Relevance: Information that Meets Your Needs 

  • Is the information meeting the needs of your research?
  • Who is the intended audience? 
  • Is the information covered at the appropriate level or do you need to consult additional sources?

Authority: Source of the Information 

  • Who is the author?
  • What are the author's or organization's credentials?
  • Is the author qualified to write on this topic?
  • Is there any way to contact the author directly?

Accuracy: Reliability and Truthfulness

  • Where does the information come from and is it supported by evidence?
  • Can the information be verified in other sources?
  • Does the author use unbiased language that is free of emotion?
  • Is the information trying to persuade the opinion of the audience?
  • Are there any spelling or other typographical errors on the page?

Purpose: Why the Information Exists 

  • Is the purpose of the site clear?
  • Is it designed to sell you something? Inform? Persuade?
  • Are there any political, institutional, cultural, or personal biases present?

The CRAAP acronym is adapted from Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.