Evaluating Sources

Remember: C.R.A.A.P.

Currency = Is the article timely? When was it published? Has it been updated? Is the information to which it refers timely?  Do links on the website work? Does the site or info seem out-of-date?

Relevance = Does the information relate to your topic? Is it at an appropriate level – not too basic, not too advanced? Who is the audience?

Authority = Who is the author? What are his/her credentials? Is the author part of an organization, and if so, what are its goals? Is his/her organizational affiliation obvious? Is contact information available on the site? Is the URL a .com, .org, .gov?

Accuracy = Where does the information come from? Is there evidence on the website to support it? Can you verify the facts from other sources or from personal knowledge? Is bias evident in the language the author uses? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes?

Purpose = What is the purpose of the website? (To inform? To entertain? To sell a product?) Do the authors/sponsors make their purpose clear? Is the information fact or opinion? Are there political, cultural, institutional or personal biases that are evident?

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Example websites to evaluate:

  1. http://www.sweetsurprise.com/

  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588

  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers_b_861913.html

(Adapted from Eastern Michigan University Library’s First Year Writing Instructor Guide on Evaluating Sources: http://guides.emich.edu/fywp)

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