Does your source pass the CRAAP Test*?
How good is the information you have found? Are those websites really telling you the truth? What about those articles you read? Evaluating information and reading sources with a critical eye is an important part of your research. Outlined below are some tips for evaluating information.
CRAAP is an acronym for remembering the criteria you need to use when evaluating information and Web sites.
When was it published? How current is the information? When was it last updated? For Web sites: are the links still working?
Does the source relate to your topic? How can it help you? What can you gain by using it for your research? Who is the intended audience?
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? What are the author's credentials? Does the Web address reveal anything about the author or source? For example: .com, .edu, .gov, .org, .net? Look at the "about" section of the Web site.
How truthful and reliable is the information? How correct is the information? Is it supported by evidence? Has it been reviewed or refereed? Can you verify any of the information? Are there spelling or typographical errors? Where does the information come from? Does anything seem suspicious to you? Is there a bibliography or list of cited sources?
What is the purpose of the information source? Is the information biased? Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda? Does the point of view appear objective or impartial? Do the authors make their intentions clear?
*CRAAP acronym and descriptions created by the Meriam Library at CSU, Chico. (http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/evalsites.html)
Need more details on a specific citation style? Information on citing government documents? Information on writing annotated bibliographies? Take a look these resources for help!
Do you need a specialized citation style beyond APA, Chicago, or MLA? Check out Zotero's Style Repository for specialized formats.
The Libraries provide workshops to get you started using Zotero. Check the workshop calendar for times and locations.
Not a fan of Zotero? Check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab for assistance with citing APA, MLA and Chicago.