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Evaluating Information: Home

A research guide to evaluating print and online resources


You've found some resources for your assignment, but are they appropriate for your research? It's easy to find articles in databases and websites on the Internet, but are they reliable? 

With so much information available, both print and online, researchers need to develop skills in evaluating the resources they locate. For example, Val Greenwood's The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy was first published in 1973.  Would you count on it for websites and online search strategies? Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century is the author's "case against the presumed extermination of European Jewry." Do you think this is a solidly researched work of historical accuracy?  You should always examine your books, articles, and websites to determine whether they are reliable and appropriate for your research needs.

The CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose) was created by Sarah Blakeslee of the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico, and "is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find." The questions in the tabbed sections above have been reprinted or adapted from this original set of evaluation criteria and are used by permission of the Meriam Library.  UMW librarians are responsible for the examples that illustrate the questions.