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Lansing Community College Library

English 122 - Composition II: Evaluating Information

Library resources for argumentative essays.

Types of Sources

You will find many different types of sources in your research. This video explains the information cycle or how sources appear after a newsworthy event.

CRAAP Test - Evaluation Criteria

Evaluate your information using the CRAAP test. Based on what you discover, go back and research 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Is the information out of date for your topic?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?

What is a Scholarly Journal?

How can I find out what type of source I have?

Evaluating Books

Scholarly Sources

What do we mean by a scholarly source in English 122?

When looking for scholarly sources, focus on primary research, largely "experts writing for other experts":

  • Original research in a peer-reviewed or scholarly journal
  • A student interview with an expert in the field
  • A scholarly book published through a university press
  • An original government study or research
  • A published dissertation

The following would NOT be considered scholarly sources:

  • A letter to the editor or news brief in a peer-reviewed or scholarly journal
  • An expert quoted in a general news source
  • A government fact sheet, web page summary
  • Document such as the US Constitution or laws