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GWSS 105 - Introduction to Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Use the CRAAP Test

One way to evaluate your sources is the CRAAP Test, which means evaluating the following qualities of your sources:

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

This video (2:17) from Western Libraries explains the CRAAP Test. Transcript

Evaluate Websites

The CRAAP Test can help determine the quality of websites, but finding the information you need to make this judgment can be more challenging with websites. The guidelines that follow can help you decide if a website is a good choice for a source for your paper. 

  • Currency. A useful site is updated regularly and lets visitors know when content was published on the site. Can you tell when the site was last updated? Can you see when the content you need was added? Does the site shows signs of not being maintained (such as broken links, clearly out-of-date information)?  
  • Relevance.Think about the target audience for the site. Is it appropriate for you or your paper's audience?
  • Authority. Look for an About Us link or something similar to learn about the site's creator. The more you know about the credentials and mission of a site's creators as well as their sources of information, the better idea you will have about the site's quality.
  • Accuracy. Does the site present references or links to the sources of information it presents? Can you locate these sources so that you can read and interpret the information yourself?
  • Purpose. Consider the reason why the site was created. Is the site trying to sell you something? Is the site trying to promote a certain position on an issue? Can you detect any bias? Does the site use emotional language? Does the site present opinions or facts? 

Identify Political Perspective

News outlets, think tanks, organizations, and individual authors can present information from a particular political perspective. Consider this fact to help determine whether sources are useful for your paper.

                                    

 

Check a news outlet's website, usually under About Us or Contact Us, for information about their reporters and authors. For example, USAToday has the USA Today Reporter Index, and the LA Times has an Editorial & Newsroom Contacts. Reading a profile or bio for a reporter or looking at other articles by the author may tell you whether whether that person favors a particular viewpoint.

If a particular organization is mentioned in an article, learn more about the organization to identify potential biases. Thinks tanks and other association usually exist for a reason. Searching news articles about the organization can help you determine their political leaning.

Bias is not always bad, but you must be aware of it. Knowing the perspective of a source helps contextualize the information presented.