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CMM 100

Evaluating Websites

EVALUATE WEBSITES WITH C-R-A-A-P 

Use caution when using web sources to get information on your topic. Before you include a website's information in your speech, consider the CRAAP test

 

CURRENCY

The timeliness of the information

  • 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  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?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?

RELEVANCE

The importance of the information for your needs

  • 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?

AUTHORITY

The source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What 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? Examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government), .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

ACCURACY

The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • 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 and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

PURPOSE

The reason the information exists

  • 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?

Do not use websites such as Wikipedia, eHow, HowStuffWorks.com, etc.  While these sites are useful for personal information needs, they are not appropriate for academic work.  Articles on these sites can be written by anyone, not necessarily experts within the field.  You should be able to find information through more reputable sources.  Use the Web Sources tab on the research guide to find some recommended web sources.


1http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf 

Image by Amy Weir, Humber College Libraries. http://i.imgur.com/jXxn1pX.jpg 

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