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ENM109 Research Skills Guide: Evaluate Information and Web Resources

Evaluate information (The CRAP Test)

Use this test - the CRAP Test - to make a decision about the value of the information you have found ...

Currency

Is it current enough for your topic?

A general rule is to use resources published in the last 5 years.

Reliability

Is the source reputable? Is it peer reviewed?

Does the creator provide references?

Do those references pass the CRAP test?

Authority

Who is the creator or author?

What are their qualifications?

Are they an expert in the field?

Purpose

Is it fact or opinion?

Is it biased or balanced?

Is the creator trying to sell you something?

Evaluate internet resources

The type of domain provides you a hint as to the reliability of the website at which you are looking.

.edu (educational institution)

.gov (government)

These are more likely to be reliable and unbiased.

.org (non-profit organisation)

.asn (non-commercial organisation)

Sometimes these organisations can be biased toward one side of an issue that is actually quite complex.

.com (commercial site)

.net (network)

Try to avoid these sites as they are likely to be unreliable.

.net is the domain given to any site that doesn't fit into the other domain categories.

If you find a .com or .net site that you think is ok, look at the currency, reliability, authority and purpose to see if your suspicion is supported by evidence.

The CRAP test video