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Library Research Process

This guide provides introductory information and tips on the research process.

Evaluating Sources

Not all information is created equal. This is especially true of information found on the open web, via Google or other search engines. There is wonderful, high-quality information to be found there. And there is utter crap. And everything else in-between. Whether for one of your courses or for your personal use, one of the key parts of the research process is evaluating your information, i.e., using your Crap Detector.

In this video, librarian Sherri Saines talks about evaluating information sources.



CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose and is an easy way to remember what to consider when evaluating a resource you are evaluating for a research assignment.

CRAAP Test Description. 1.	Currency: The timeliness of the information. a.	When was the information published or posted? b.	Has the information been revised or updated? c.	Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well? d.	Are the links functional? 2.	Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. a.	Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? b.	Who is the intended audience? c.	Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)? d.	Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use? e.	Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper? 3.	Authority: The source of the information. a.	Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? b.	What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations? c.	Is the author qualified to write on the topic? d.	Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address? e.	Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? i.	Examples: .com, .edu, .gov, .org or .net 4.	Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. a.	Where does the information come from? b.	Is the information supported by evidence? c.	Has the information been reviewed or revered? d.	Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge? e.	Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion? f.	Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? 5.	Purpose: The reason the information exits. a.	What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? b.	Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear? c.	Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda? d.	Does the point of view appear objective and impartial? e.	Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?