Skip to main content

Online Research

Find out where to look - Google Scholar, Wikipedia and beyond, and what to look for when you're evaluating your results.

Believe it or not!

Evaluating content is one keys to your success at school and beyond.

Employers want to hire people with the ability to
critically analyze
information.

Take the Challenge!

Think you can tell a trustworthy site from a bunch of hokum? A hoax from a legit site?

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!

More Evaluation Tutorials

How can I decide if this information is "good"?

All resources are not created equal. Some can be useful and valid for your academic assignments, while others are...not.

Before using any resource for an assignment, you have to evaluate it's contents.

Does it pass the CRAAP test?

Currency: How up-to-date is this information?

  • Can you find when the information was posted/published?
  • When was it last updated?
  • Is it ever updated?
  • Is this the most current version?
  • Do the links work?

Relevancy: Does this information match your needs?

    • Does this information, in whole or part, match your topic or thesis?
    • Will this information help support your argument? Is it a good example of something you want to illustrate?
    • Will your assignment be better if you include this information?
    • Does this information point to other relevant information?
    • Is it restating things you've already said and/or supported elsewhere?

    Authority: What is the source of this information?

    • Is it clear who wrote and/or published this information?
    • Does the writer(s) and/or publisher have expertise or standing in this field?
    • If there is an organization involved, do they state their purpose clearly and openly? Are they a subsidiary of another organization?
    • Can you easily contact the organization that published the information?
    • Does the publisher have the right to post/publish this information?

    Accuracy: How reliable is this information?

    • Can you verify the information?
    • Are the means of discovering this information made clearly available?
    • Is the information presented clearly with adherence to grammar, spelling and labelling standards?

    Purpose: Why was this information written/posted/published?

    • Is this information meant to add new knowledge to the world and/or add to the scholarly dialogue?
    • Is this information presented with a religious/economic/political/social/racial bias?
    • Is there an attempt to provide an impartial or objective voice?
    • If there is an opinion presented, is it made clear to the reader that this is a subjective piece?
    • Is the goal of this information to teach, persuade, sell, entertain?
    • Can this information be classified as fact? Propaganda?
    • Is advertising presented in a clearly dilineated/separated part of the webpage/site?

      Read between the lines...

      Wondering where to find the answers to the questions posed on the right? Try these spots on any website:

      • Content – study the words, vocabulary, images, multi-media content - do they all match up to give a cohesive message? Does the message match the actual words on the page?
      • “About” page – read the self-description of publisher, authors
      • Style – banner, colors, logo; does this site look legitimate? Too slick? Amateurish?
      • Domain Extension – does the end of the URL (.com, .ca, .gov, etc.) match the purported intent of the site? Check out this list of domain extensions and what they can reveal about a site.
      • Links – which sites does this page link to? Do they match the stated information and intent of the site in question?
      • Organization – how is the site labelled? What sections are available? Do the links work?