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HPE 497 - Concepts and Analyses in Research: Source Credibility

Evaluating Your Sources - CRAAP Test

Whether or not your source is peer-reviewed, it is still a good idea to evaluate it based on these five factors. An article that has been peer-reviewed is credible, but it still might not be entirely relevant to your assignment. Finding relevant sources for research is important, but using unreliable sources will hurt your credibility and make your arguments seem less powerful. It is important to be able to identify which sources are credible. This ability requires an understanding of Currency  Relevance Authority Accuracy and Purpose

Adapted from Meriam Library, California State University, Chico

Selecting the Best Sources

Evaluating Sources Using the CRAAP Test

Finding relevant sources for research is important, but using unreliable sources will hurt your credibility and make your arguments seem less powerful. It is important to be able to identify which sources are credible. This ability requires an understanding of:

Currency
Relevance
Authority
Accuracy 
Purpose

Whether or not your source is peer-reviewed, it is still a good idea to evaluate it based on these five factors. An article that has been peer-reviewed is credible, but it still might not be entirely relevant to your assignment.

For more information see the CRAAP Test:

Website Credibility

  • Information available on the Internet is not regulated for quality or accuracy; therefore, it is particularly important for the individual to evaluate the resource or information.
  • Almost anyone can publish anything they wish on the Web.
  • It is often difficult to determine authorship of Web sources, and even if the author is listed, he or she may not always represent him or herself honestly, or he or she may represent opinions as fact.
  • The responsibility is on the user to evaluate resources effectively
  • Be very critical of any information you find on the Web and carefully examine each site.
  • Web pages are susceptible to both accidental and deliberate alteration, and may move or disappear with no notice.
  • Print out or download all pages you plan to use in your research so that your bibliography will be complete and accurate.
  • Are you sure the Web is where you want to be? It may take an hour to find the answer to a question on the Web that would take a Librarian two minutes to find. When in doubt, ask a Librarian!

Video - Is it peer-review/refereed?

What is Peer-review? Peer review is a well-accepted indicator that a source is scholarly and reliable. Before publication, peer-reviewed journals require that papers/articles be reviewed by experts in the same field. After reading and reviewing the material for accuracy and objectivity, the reviewers will recommend publication, revision, or rejection. A peer-reviewed article is often called a “refereed” article. Peer-reviewed articles are published in peer-reviewed/refereed journals.

To determine whether a given article is from a peer-reviewed source, try searching Ulrich’s directory of periodicals. It contains many, but not all, peer-reviewed journals. If unsuccessful, find the website of the journal itself and look for its author, submission, and/or editorial guidelines.

Empirical Research Articles

Ulrich's Web - Periodical Information