Skip to main content

Citation and Evaluating Resources Guide: Evaluating Sources

Why Do We Need to Evaluate Sources?

Our modern world allows us to have many valuable sources of information available at the click of a mouse. While this vast source of information can lead us to be more informed citizens and researchers, it also means we need to be more critical of what we are reading and viewing. For every credible source, there are just as many sources that are trying to sell us something, are biased or are trying to misrepresent the truth. Because of this, we need to evaluate any source before we use it to support our research or before we pass it on to share.

The resources on this page, will help you become more critical readers and viewers of the information you interact with on a daily basis.

THE CRAAP Test

This video, courtesy of the WITC Learning Commons is an excellent explanation of how to use the CRAAP Test to evaluate websites for reliability. 

Try it Yourself!

Using the CRAAP Test Evaluation form posted above, look at the two websites below and evaluate them for reliability. Which website do you think is the more reliable? 

OPVL

Test Your Ability to Spot Fake News or Bad Sources

Do you think you have the know-how to spot fake news sources? Test your ability with Factitious

How to Recognize a Fake News Site

"IFLA Infographic Based On Factcheck.Org’S 2016 Article "How To Spot Fake News" In JPG Format." 2017, http://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174.

Know Your Generic Top Level Domains

  • com (commercial): This is the most popular gTLD. Originally used for commercial purposes, this is now used for almost any web site imaginable. Anyone can have a .com. Proceed with caution and a critical eye.
  • .net (network): Originally meant for network sites, this gTLD, too, is often used for many non-network-related information. Anyone can have a .net. Proceed with caution and a critical eye.
  • .gov (government): These sites are restricted to government use only. This is not a public domain one can simply purchase. Often an excellent source of statistical data.
  • .org (organization): This Top Level Domain was intended for organizations and non-profits. However, it has quickly been embraced by the general public. Be aware of the bias of the particular organization. Proceed with caution and a critical eye.
  • .edu (education): This Top Level Domain is generally used by universities and other formal educational institutions. Many research sciences will publish through their associated university.
  • internet country codes: these Top Level Domains indicate the country that the website is hosted in. Internet domains that use the country code, must be approved by the country, but that does not mean that they do not contain bias or unsubstantiated facts, so it is important to still be critical of these sites.