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Evaluating Sources - CRAAP Test

Some tips on how to evaluate sources.

Webpage Currency

Questions to ask when evaluating Currency in websites:

1. Are you able to tell when the page was created?  When was the page last updated?

2. Are there dead links in sprinkled around the website?

3. How critical is it that you have the most up to date information for your research topic?  

4. If the website is using some sort of data, when were the data collected?

 

How to find Currency in websites: 

1. Look at the top and bottom of the webpage to find a published date or a last updtated date.  The copyright date may not be indicatve of the currency of the article.  

2. If the webpage has dead links then that means the page is not updated regularly.  

3. Take a look at any tables or charts that are on the webpage and see what dates they collected the data.  

4. Currency for your topic may not be as critical to one topic as it might to to another.  For example if you are you researching the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea you would want the most up to date news reports and data.  If your topic is the Cuban Missle Crisis of 1962 it might be alright if some of your sources are over ten years old.   

Print Currency

Questions to ask when evaluating Currency in printed material:

1. When was the item published?  

2. Does it have a newer edition?

3. How important is it to have the latest information about the topic you are researching?

How to find Currency in printed material:

1. Books will have all of the dates of publication and editions on the back of the title page.

2. Journals and magazines will have the date it was published on the front cover or spine.  Although, sometimes you have to look at the table of contents to find the dates.

3. Gauging the importance of Currency when researching is very important.  Some topics can should only have the most recent information while other topics can have seemingly dated materials.  For example, researching the latest treatment methods for a particular illness over the last five years is a pretty good timeframe. However, if you want to research the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 you might want to broaden that timeframe to the last twenty years.