These tips also appear in Lesson 5 of the Library Research Tutorial!
Evaluating information, whether online or in print, is an essential step in the research process. The following criteria and questions -- known as the CRAAP Test* -- are useful to evaluating websites and other information sources.
When was this book or article published, or when was the web page created or last updated? Do you need more current information? Do links on the site still connect to their destination?
Is this source pertinent to your research topic? How can you use this information in your research? Could you provide a citation to this source in your research?
Does the information presented seem accurate? Are the facts verifiable from other sources? Does the author list his or her sources?
Who is the author? What expertise does he or she have on this topic? Who sponsors the publication or website? Checking the website address may indicate who sponsors that website.
Websites belonging to a commercial entity, a non-profit organization, or an individual.
Websites belonging to colleges or universities, or faculty researchers or students at that institution.
Websites belonging to federal, state or municipal government agencies.
Websites may belong to a non-profit organization, but not always.
Who is the intended audience? What is the stated purpose of the publication or website? What position or opinion is presented, and is it presented objectively or with a bias or agenda? For websites, check the "About..." link if there is one. What other websites does this one link to?