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Diehl-Matto COMP111: Finding Credible Websites

This research guide will help students locate and use appropriate databases for their research on current issues. The guide will also include tips on evaluating websites.

Evaluating Websites for Credibility

You should really be using the library's databases and online resources as sources, but, we will admit that sometimes you can find relevant information on the World Wide Web. If you want to use information from the WWW, you must make sure it is reliable, current, accurate and written at the proper level for a college audience. This is critical thinking and it takes practice, but it must be done if you want to use web resources.  Look at the following C.R.A.A.P.P. checklist for help with vetting online information and apply it to any WWW resources you may consider using.

 

The C.R.A.A.P.P. Checklist

 

Title of resource you are evaluating: __________________________________________________________________________________

 

 URL:  ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

CURRENCY

 

When was the resource created or updated?

 

If no date is given, visit the home page to look for the date.

Date _______________________________

 

Is the information current enough for your topic?

 

Why might the date matter for your topic?

Yes

No

 

Reasoning: 

 

 

 

 

RELIABILITY

 

 

Are there references given for the resource?

 

Look for a bibliography or any list of materials used in the creation of the page.

Yes

No

 

If so, how many?

 

 

Is the content primarily opinion?

 

Is the content biased or balanced? Why might bias matter for your topic?

 

Yes

No

 

Notes:

 

 

 

AUTHORITY/ Accuracy

 

Who created the resource?

If there is no specific author, what is the name of the organization responsible for the site? You may need to visit the home page to find the answer.

 

 

Email or Username: ___________________________________

 

 

Name: ______________________________________________

 

Is there evidence that the creator or organization is an expert on this subject?

 

Are there references given for the resource? Can you verify the references?

Look for a bibliography or any list of materials used in the creation of the page.

 

 

List your evidence (use reverse side if necessary):

 

 

Yes                     How many references?

 

No

 

 

 

Purpose and Point of View

 

 

Why was the resource put on the web?

Are there ads on the site? How do they relate to the topic covered?

 

Example: an ad selling ammunition next to an article about firearm legislation.

 

Is the content primarily opinion?

Information/Facts

Persuasion

Sales Tool

 

Other__________

 

Notes:

 

 

What is the domain extension?

 

How might this influence the purpose?

.com

.edu

.mil

.org

.gov

.net

 

 

Other __________________

 

 

Based on the writing style and vocabulary, who is the intended audience?

 

Children

General Public

College Students

Scholars or Professionals

 

Other _________________

 

 

Google Advanced Search

Use the Google Advanced Search to limit a domain (.gov, .edu, .org) and more!