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Introduction to Library Resources: Evaluating Information

This guide will teach you how to find credible and reliable sources for your research projects.

CRAAP Test - Evaluation Criteria

Evaluate your information using the CRAAP test. Based on what you discover, go back and brainstorm and re-search some more.

Currency
How new (or old) is the information? 
Is the information out of date for your topic?
Relevance
Does the information address your topic, thesis and supporting arguments? 
Is it at an appropriate level (i.e not too elementary or too advanced?)
Authority
Who wrote the information? Individual or institution? Are they credible?
Are the author's credentials or qualifications given?
Is there author's contact information?
Accuracy
Is the information consistent with other sources? 
Does the information seem biased?
Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
Purpose
Why was the information created? To persuade? To educate? To sell something?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions clear?
Are there political, cultural, institutional or personal biases and opinions?

 

Magazines vs. Journals

Chart comparing characteristics of magazines and journals
Characteristics  Magazines Journals
Audience General Scholars, researchers or professionals. Academic or professional organizations usually publish journals.
Length & Focus Shorter articles which cover a wide range of topics. Research and current trends are broadly summarized.

Longer, in-depth articles that cover case studies and research reports and often include a list of references. Contain few photographs or advertisements.

Learn about the format of a scholarly article with Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Review Process Reviewed by magazine editorial staff.

Before some journal articles are published, they are reviewed by an editorial board, peer reviewed or refereed. This means the contents are evaluated by others in the field prior to being published.

Learn about the peer review process with the video, Peer Review in 3 Minutes.

Examples

Rolling Stone

US News & World Report

Time

Cover of Time magazine

English Studies

Journal of the American Medical Association

Cover of the Journal of the American Medical Association