F&M College Library

CNX 273: In & Out of the Garden

So many books and articles... how to choose?

Evaluate Sources:

  • Is this source reliable?

    • author: credentials, values/biases, associations

    • publisher:  scholarly (ex. university press)?

    • date:  relevant (ex. primary source or recent research)?

    • audience:  who is it written for (the public or experts)?

  • Is there another interpretation or point of view to consider?

  • How will the new information influence or change your argument or what you know?


For more on evaluating sources see our Evaluation Guide.

 

 Is My Source Scholarly?

Popular Trade Scholarly

author

journalist / staff writer industry expert expert / researcher
publisher popular popular academic (often)
audience general public professionals experts
content general interest practical industry info specific & technical
citations rare sometimes always
peer review no no yes (mostly)

 

 

 

 

 

 



Scholarly articles will have:  introductions, abstracts, author credentials, references  &
Scholarly articles will sometimes have: review, method, results, and discussion

 

The CRAAP Test

Once you have found a full source (online or print), use the CRAAP Test to determine if you should use it.

Currency   

When was the information published or updated? Are the references to other sources up to date? Does currency matter for your topic?


Relevance/Coverage  

Is this source relevant to your research question? Does the source meet the requirements of the assignment? Is the information too technical or too simple? Who is the intended audience? Does it add to your knowledge of the topic?


Authority

Who is the author? Is the author part of an educational institution or an organization? Can you find information about the author on the internet or with other resources? How often is this author cited? The author may be an individual or an organization.


Accuracy 

Is this information correct and reliable? Are there spelling or grammar errors? Was the information reviewed or edited before it was published? What are other authors writing about the topic?


Purpose/Objectivity 

What is the purpose of the information? Is it designed to sway your opinion? Does it project a bias? Are there other points of view presented?

The CRAAP test was creatd by California State University, Chico

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Picking Your Topic is Research

Video was created by NCSU 

Research Help