This is the "Evaluate Sources" page of the "ENGL 1000 Freshman English I" guide.
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Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 URL: http://libguides.swu.edu/ENGL1000 Print Guide RSS Updates

Evaluate Sources Print Page
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It's on the Internet, so it's true... right?

 

Test Your Knowledge

Your instructor has asked you to write a paper based on current scholarly information. What would be the most appropriate source to use?





 

Do's and Don'ts of Wikipedia

DO...

  • use Wikipedia to become familiar with a topic or as a starting point for research
  • use Wikipedia to find more search terms or keywords for your research topic
  • maintain a level of skepticism when reading Wikipedia articles

DON'T...

  • cite Wikipedia articles in your bibliography for assignments or papers
  • treat information on Wikipedia as facts, especially when concerning legal or medical advice
 

What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia"Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model." - Wikipedia

This online encyclopedia is a collaborative, cooperative effort by volunteer writers to provide up-to-date information on any subject imaginable.

Wikipedia is one of the most popular reference websites online, with millions of visitors every month. There are more than 19 million articles and 82.000 active contributors.

Wikipedia is guided by the following principles, referred to as the Five Pillars:

  1. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
  2. Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view.
  3. Wikipedia is free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute.
  4. Editors should interact with each other in a respectable and civil manner.
  5. Wikipedia does not have firm rules.

Suggestion Box

Suggestions

Have a suggestion, or a comment?  Please let us know by clicking the "Submit" icon below.

 

Locate, Evaluate, and Use Information

Locate, Evaluate, and Use Information

 

The Evaluation Process

  • —Understand the spectrum between fact and opinion.
  • Question issues of perspective, point of view, and bias.
  • Be skeptical of everything you find.
  • —Be mindful that there are many different types of information online, from research data to opinions.
  • ——Compare and contrast different information resources.
 

CRAAP Test

Are your sources credible and useful, or are they a bunch of . . .?! 

The CRAAP Test is a rubric that helps you determine if the sources you found are accurate and reliable.  Keep in mind that the following list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Key: * indicates criteria is for Web sources only

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional? *
Relevance:The importance of the information for your needs.
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
Authority: The source of the information.
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net *
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

View the Rickman Library rubric for evaluating sources, the CRAAP test.  View the Rickman Library Evaluating Sources PowerPoint.

This is a modified version of a document created by Sarah Blakeslee at Meriam Library, CSU Chico.

 

Wikipedia: Beneath the Surface

 

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Evaluating Sources of Information from the Purdue OWL

Is Wikipedia a scholarly source?

Wikipedia


"Wikipedia is not considered a credible source. Wikipedia is increasingly used by people in the academic community, from freshman students to professors, as an easily accessible tertiary source for information about anything and everything. However, citation of Wikipedia in research papers may be considered unacceptable, because Wikipedia is not considered a credible or authoritative source. This is especially true considering anyone can edit the information given at any time."

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