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Academic Integrity: EVALUATING INFORMATION

EVALUATING INFORMATION

Being able to evaluate information and knowing which sources are suitable to use is a fundamental part of Academic integrity. Evaluating information is a crucial tool in your Information literacy skillset.

WHAT ARE PRIMARY SOURCES

Materials that are eyewitness accounts or as close to the original source as possible.
Qualitative data:
What people say - Speeches, Interviews and Conversations, and they may be captured in Videos, Audio Recordings, or transcribed into text.
What people write - Autobiographies, Memoirs, Personal Journals and Diaries, Letters, Emails
Blogs, Twitter Feeds and other forms of Social Media.
Images and Videos.
Maps.
Government Documents, Laws, Court Cases and Decisions, Treaties.
Newspapers.
Quantitative – Statistics and Data, Polls and Public Opinions 

CURRENCY

The timeliness of the information
When was the information published or posted
Has the information been revised or updated
Do you require current information or older sources
Are the links functional

REMEMBER: Information can change over time! What is current now may become obsolete quickly.
 

ACCURACY

The reliability and truthfulness of the 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 unbiased and free of emotion?
Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?

 

WHAT ARE SECONDARY SOURCES

Secondary sources are interpretations and analyses based on primary sources.
For example, an autobiography is a primary source while a biography is a secondary source.
Typical secondary sources include:
Scholarly Journal Articles.
Magazines.
Reports
Encyclopedias, Handbooks, Dictionaries.
Documentaries.
Newspapers.

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 citing this source in your paper?

PURPOSE

The reason the information exists
What is the purpose of the information?
Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

THE CRAAP TEST

A handy way of thinking about how to evaluate information is to use the CRAAP Test:

CURRENCY

RELEVANCE

AUTHORITY 

ACCURACY 

PURPOSE

Blakeslee, Sarah (2004) "The CRAAP Test," LOEX Quarterly: Vol. 31 : Iss. 3 , Article 4.
Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/loexquarterly/vol31/iss3/4

AUTHORITY

The source of the information
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?