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FCS 3102: Developing Inclusive Partnerships in Early Care Settings: Evaluating Information

Reliable Sources

Many individuals look for information on the internet or in popular magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and Parents.com. This information may or may not be comprehensive, accurate, or up to date. 

  • Popular articles are intended for the general public and have some level of basic research on the subject being written about.
  • Blogs are primarily opinion pieces that are not necessarily well researched, are written in a casual style, and contain many links. 
  • Articles in subject specific publications and information on websites created by professional associations have a higher level of accuracy than articles, blogs, tweets, and posts written for the general public.
  • Scholarly articles are written by scholars and researchers for professionals in a specific field, academicians, and other researchers. This is usually the most accurate information on a topic.

For more information on evaluating popular and scholarly sources, use this step-by-step tutorial.

Applying the CAARP Test to Evaluate Information

The CAARP Test is a list of questions that can help you evaluate the information you locate. 

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • If a website, are the links functional?   

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    •  examples:
      • .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government)
      • .org (nonprofit organization), or
      • .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e., not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper or project?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

 

The CRAAP test was developed by librarians at California State University, Chico. It was modified for visual connection here.

Education Librarian

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Jennifer Woods
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Contact:
Belk Library and Information Commons, 037A
(828) 262-8160