What to Remember When Evaluating Websites: Think “CRAAP!”
- Is the information current and up-to-date?
- Things to check for: copyright date, “last updated,” Date published (if an article is found online). This is important because depending on your topic things could change rapidly and you want accurate information.
- Is the information relevant to your needs?
- Think of the audience. Is the piece aimed at your academic level or does it seem to focus on students who are considerably younger? More advanced?
- Is the information reliable and in line with other sources you’ve viewed? Is the material presented in a way that seems informative and free from bias?
- Red flags include: lack of references/bibliography (a site should be clear of where they did research and should encourage you to check out other sources); dead links; misspellings and factual errors.
- Who is the author or group behind the website? What are their credentials?
- On a website there should always be a way to CONTACT someone. Look for an “About Us” section. This will explain the mission behind putting information out there and should provide you with background about the individual/group. Also, think of what the domain ending reveals about the source (.edu? .gov? .org?)
- What is the intention behind publishing the information? Is the site/article meant to be informative or is it trying to convince you to think a certain way about an issue? Does it seem like the focus is educational or is it persuasive?