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Evaluating Sources - CRAAP Test

Some tips on how to evaluate sources.

Webpage Authority

Questions to ask when evaluating Authority in websites:

1. Who is the creator or author of the website?

2. What credentials do they have for writing on this subject?

3. Who is publisher or sponsor of the website? Are they an authority on the issue?

4. Does the publisher have any financial interest in publishing this information?

5. Are there advertisements on the website?  What are they for? 

6. Is the website a .com, .net. .org, .gov?  Do you know the difference?


How to find Authority in websites:

1.  .edu, and .gov are typically more authoritative than .com or .org 

2. Click the "About" section on the webpage.  Does it say anything about the author's education or experience with the topic?

3. If there are advertisements on the website what are they trying to sell you?  Are the products related to the topic of the website? There is bias if you are researching ADHD in college students and all the advertisements are for a prescription drug for treating ADHD.

4. A good website will give you information about the author(s) and what their credentials are.  

5. A quality website will give out contact information for the authors and contributors.  Or even just how to contact the people who manage the website.  

Print Authority

Questions to ask when evaluating Authority in print:

1. Who is the author of the article or book?

2. What are the creditials or qualifications of the author of the book or article?

3. Is the author associated with a univeristy at the time the material was printed?  If it is an organization, are they well known as a scholarly authority on the topic?

4. Is there contact information for the author(s)?

5. Would this be considered a scholarly source?

6. Are there advertisments in the publication?  If so, are they for products discussed in the article?

7. Are you able to tell how the author gets their research funding?

How to find Authority in print: 

1. The begining of each journal article there should be a small academic biography of the author(s).  

2. There should be something about the author(s) in the beginning of the book that tells you who they are and what their research has been in.   

3. Even if the source does not give you a direct email for the author(s) it should tell you what university or organization they work for.  Through that website you could find contact information.  

4. If there are advertisments for products discussed in the article then it should be a red-flag.  

5. Finding out who funds the author's research can be a little tricky.  You might have to dig around their website, email the author, and even email the publisher for that information.  If you have questions come see a librarian.