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Doing Research

Test your source

When you evaluate information sources, you cαν use particular criteria known as the CRAAP test. If your sources pass the test, then you can use them for your papers.

Currency

Determine whether there is a particular time range within which the information sources that you have to locate need to have been published. For instance, if you want to find information about a classical film you will not necessarily need recent information. However, if you want to discuss adoption from the perspective of gay and lesbian parents, you may need to find recent information.

Ask:

  • Is the source current or out of date for my topic? 
  • When was the source last updated or revised?
  • Does the source carry a date (e.g. publication date, date of posting, revised or update date)?

Relevancy

Determine how closely a piece of information aligns with your information needs. You will find many sources about your topic, but you will need to specify which information is suitable for the type of paper you are writing or for the argument that you want to develop.

Ask:

  • Does the information presented meet my information needs or interests?
  • Does the information source offer basic coverage or thorough analysis?
  • Did I learn anything new from the information source?

Authority

Determine whether the author, creator, or publisher of the information source is an expert on the topic or discipline.

Ask:

  • Is the author of the source qualified to write about the topic?
  • Are there any institutional affiliations available?
  • Is there any contact information available?
  • Are there any metrics available demonstrating the impact of the author?

Accuracy

Determine whether the information you located is correct and true.

Ask:

  • Is the information valid?
  • Is the information reliable?
  • Is the source peer reviewed?
  • Is the source published or made available online by a reputable publisher?

Purpose

Determine the reason why the information exists.
 

Ask:

  • Why was this source written (e.g. to inform, teach, entertain, persuade)?
  • How might the author's affiliation affect the point of view presented in the source, or potentially bias the source?
  • Is the information a fact, an opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the presented point of view appear to be objective and impartial?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?

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