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How to Evaluate Information Sources: The Basics

Viewers will learn which criteria to use to evaluate resources

Why Evaluate?

The internet is a system of networks and a communications tool, not a source.

The quality of information available on the internet can vary significantly.

It is essential to analyze any source, but especially web resources, for content, validity, and appropriateness.

Unlike journals or books, web pages frequently lack editors or publishers who filter out misinformation.

See OWL at Purdue on Evidence

How to evaluate information sources

Critically Analyzing Information Sources.  This website provides criteria you should use to evaluate any information source.  (Cornell University Library*)   

Learn the difference--Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals.

Be wise to retracted scholarly papers.   See  Retraction Watch and Retraction Databases 

Other Websites on Evaluation

Evaluating Information -- Applying the CRAAP Test
(original CRAAP test designer's site)


Evaluating Sources for Credibility (3 Min)

Authored by librarians at North Carolina State University


Follow the Money

It takes time and money to support a high quality website.  So, be sure to figure out where the support is coming from and why.

A NOTE ABOUT CONTENT FARMS:  There are many commercial websites that are called "content farms."  Unless your project is a study of content farms, these are poor choices to support your work.  They are created by companies that hire people to write articles that are highly requested by search engines, so they can optimize their hit rate and sell more advertising.  These are not sites that have an editorial policy or mechanism for quality control of content. 

Read the Wikipedia article about Content Farms. The definition is pretty good.  Even Google hates them.  They're gaming the system.  View this list of content farms!  Don't use them.

More on Content Farms

Subject Guide

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