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TS 75, 76, 85, 86: Researching Environmental Issues: Evaluate Information

The Information Timeline

One way to think about determine if some information is reliable or credible enough for our research is to think about how the information was created. Depending on what "checks" the information had to go through (did a subject expert confirm the information? Was the information posted during the event, with firsthand perspective?), even a social media post may be useful! Here is a general timeline:

Source: "Information Timeline" by QCCLibrary, educational use

Evaluate Your Sources!

Maybe it was easy to find, but is it good? Does this information belong in my academic project or is it .... CRAP?

Use the CRAP Test to check if your sources are appropriately credible for your research!

C - Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?

R - Relevance

  • Does this source talk a lot about your specific topic?
  • Does the source provide enough depth to be useful for what you need?

A - Authority / Accuracy

  • Does the author or creator have academic/experiential knowledge, or does the person being interviewed have first-hand (primary) knowledge?
  • Is the source citing outside information?
  • Is the publishing organization/website well-known and credible?

P - Purpose / Point of View

  • What is the purpose of the source – to inform? Persuade? Sell something? 
  • Does the author or the organization/website responsible have a known bias?