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Transitioning to College : Evaluate Sources and Information

Learn to evaluate sources and information.

Evaluating Sources

A brief video that reviews the evaluation criteria outlined by the CRAAP Test.

From Western Libraries, Western University Canada

Why Evaluate Sources and Information

If you want a good grade, use high quality, credible, and authoritative sources.  The sources you select for inclusion in your works cited or reference page are a direct reflection of the quality of your paper.  You cannot expect to get a good grade if you use Wikipedia, random websites, and opinion blogs.  You need to evaluate the sources you use. Think of it this way, if you wanted to decide which SmartPhone to purchase, would you use a random blog, the manufacturer's website, or Consumer Reports?

  • A blog would give you someone's opinion. The information would not be researched.
  • The manufacturer's website might offer factual information about the phone's features, but it may post only positive reviews. 
  • Consumer Reports conducts research on products and then presents the results. 

When making a decision that will cost you money, you would probably use Consumer Reports to get the best information to back up your decision.  When writing a research paper you want to use the best sources because using anything less could cost you your grade!

How to Evaluate Sources

Evaluate every source and the information it contains no matter where it comes from before you use it to be sure it is credible and relevant to your topic. 

Before you begin your research, have set of criteria in mind to use for evaluating sources you find.  At first, evaluating sources will seem tedious and time consuming, but if you do it often enough it will become a habit that comes with ease.  There are many different models for evaluating sources.