Evaluating Information (Watch Time: 2 minutes 37 seconds)
In this tutorial we will discuss evaluating sources. Evaluating resources is an essential part of the research process. The strength and credibility of your work will rely on the quality of the sources that you use to support your arguments.
Ask yourself these questions when looking at information:
There are many different evaluation "tests" that can be used but the CRAAP Test from the California State University, Chico library provides a handy mnemonic and guide with questions to keep in mind while evaluating.
The following can be used as a general guideline for evaluating information found on the web. When in doubt, speak to your professor or ask a reference librarian for assistance.
The domain of a website gives important clues to its credibility. You can find the domain name, sometimes called the domain suffix, in the URL of the website – it’s the .com in amazon.com, and the .edu in bentley.edu. Domain names follow patterns established by domain name registering agencies, and you can use those patterns to discern clues about the purpose and geographic origin of a website.
Some domains are better sources for credible information. For example, websites containing .edu or .gov originate from accredited postsecondary educational institutions or US government offices. As such, they are usually more credible than .com or .cc websites that may have a commercial focus.
A confusing domain is .org. This domain is available to non-profit and for-profit organizations. While non-profit implies the organization does not have a commercial interest, it still could have biased or inaccurate information to further their agenda.
In general, here are some domain guidelines you can use when viewing a website: