Evaluating websites

A good tool to use to decide if a website is suitable for school research is to use the CRAAP test.  Below is a video created by McMaster University that explains how to use the CRAAP test.

The CRAAP Detection Rubric is a good quick way to evaluate a source. And so is this CRAAP Detection Checklist.

Always evaluate websites for information quality and reliability because anyone can publish information on the internet.

Academic research is different from personal research because academic research requires current, correct, and well-documented information written by institutions/people who are authorities on their subjects.

Sites should be unbiased UNLESS biased information is useful for a particular assignment.

The World Wide Web is a place of business, and sites that want to sell products or services have a different purpose from sites that exist to educate.

Use these ABCs as a guide to critically evaluate information on the Web.

  1. Authority
    Who or what organization is publishing the content?  Do they have the knowledge and expertise to publish information about this topic? This information is often found in the About Us or Contact section of a site. 
  2. Bias/Purpose
    Is this a commercial site that is trying to sell a service or a product or a site that exists primarily to educate? Does the publishing group and/or author have a bias?   Are there multiple points-of-view analyzed and expressed? 
  3. Content
    Does the content fit the research question/assignment? Is the information correct? Read background information about your topic from a reputable source such as a textbook or database first. 
  4. Currency
    Is there a publication or update date attached to the article or site? Look at the end of an entry or the bottom of a page