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English: Evaluating Sources

Subject guide for students in the English and Comparative Literature department

CRAAP Evaluation

balanced scale

Currency - Timeliness of 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  • Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?

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?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority - The source of the information for your needs

  • 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?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

 Accuracy - The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness 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?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose - Reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • 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?

Types of Periodicals: Journals and Magazines

 

SCHOLARLY JOURNALS POPULAR MAGAZINES  
ADVERTISING

Few or no advertisements

Extensive advertising

AUDIENCE

Scholars and college students

General; broad-based

AUTHOR

Scholars & researchers

Staff and freelance writers

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Articles: long bibliographies

None

LANGUAGE/TONE

Academic, research-oriented

Simple language

LENGTH OF ARTICLE

Can be 6-40 pages

Varies; often short

OVERALL APPEARANCE
  • Few or no pictures
  • Text w/statistics
  • Few colors
  • Extensive pictures
  • Glossy
  • Colorful
PUBLISHER

University or professional

For-profit, commercial

EXAMPLES
  • American Journal of Public Health
  • Journal of the American Medical Association
  • American Journal of Health Behavior

Journal of American Medical Association cover image

Scholarly journals are expensive and available through academic libraries.

  • Los Angeles Times
  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • Discover
  • Sports Illustrated

Los Angeles Times cover image

Magazines/newspapers are available in bookstores and markets.

Check Your Sources

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