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Evaluating Sources

A guide to basic evaluation skills for sources.

Why do you need to evaluate your sources?

We are bombarded with news and information every day. 

  • What skills do you need to evaluate what you find?
  • How do you distinguish the good from the bad, what is biased, misleading, distorted, or outright false? 

This guide provides a variety of resources to help you become a more savvy and critically-informed information consumer.

Are your sources credible?

The CRAAP test is one quick way of checking to see if your sources are credible and good to use for your research.

CRAAP Test

Currency

How current is the information?

Relevance

Is the information related to your needs?

Authority

The author's expertise

Accuracy

Is the information correct?

Purpose

The reason the information exists

 

The CRAAP test was created by librarian Sarah Blakeslee at California State University, Chico.

SIFT Method

The SIFT method is another way of evaluating your sources to see if they're credible. 

SIFT: Stop, Investigate the Source, Find Trusted Coverage, and Trace to the Original

This infographic was created at the University of Oregon. Contact your Queens librarians for assistance. 

The text of this graphic can be found at the University of Oregon's Libraries website

Bias

When trying to spot bias, ask yourself these questions: 

1. What kind of information is it?

Is it news? Opinion? Ad? Does it appeal to your emotions, or does it make you think?

2. Who and what are the sources cited, and why should you believe them?

Are the sources given? Are the sources associated with a political party or special interest group?

3. What’s the evidence, and how was it vetted?

What’s the evidence, and how was it vetted? Is the source a document? Witness? Or is it hearsay/speculation?

4: Is the main point of the piece proven by the evidence?

Did the sources provided justify the conclusion or main point of the story?

5. What’s missing?

Was there an aspect or point that was not covered or unclear that you are left wondering about?

 

Based on questions from the American Press Institute.

Learn More about Evaluating Sources