The C.R.A.P. method is a framework for beginning to evaluate sources. You need to look at the source itself AND do some fact-checking outside the source, too.
§ When the source was created or last updated?
§ Is this current enough for your topic (some fields change more rapidly than others)?
¨ Reliability (the content itself)
§ Are the sources of the information documented (cited)?
§ Is the content mostly opinion or mostly verifiable information?
§ Is the source summarizing or re-stating a different source? If so, "go upstream" to that original source and use it, instead.
§ When in doubt, do a quick web search to see if anyone else has already fact-checked the claims.
¨ Authority (the author or creator)
§ Who created this resource?
§ Is the creator an expert on this topic?
§ Does the creator have any institutional affiliations?
§ "Read laterally"-- do some quick searching to find out what others say about the author. What kind of reputation do they have?
¨ Purpose (the publishing source and/or medium)
§ Why was the resource created?
§ Who is the intended audience?
§ Does the publishing source have an agenda? (E.g., are they trying to get you to support a certain candidate or buy a product?)
§ Again, "read laterally"-- do some quick searching to find out what others say about the publication. What kind of reputation does it have?
§ Are there ads? A lot of them?
The Writing Center in the Learning Commons is happy to provide feedback to students who are working on papers and other projects. You can drop by the Center and schedule a time to meet with a peer tutor one-on-one. Appointments are strongly encouraged.
Ask Here PA is a 24/7 chat reference service for Pennsylvania residents. You will be connected to a librarian who can help you with many of your research questions, but remember that he or she does NOT work at Seton Hill and therefore will not have access to our databases or information about your SHU library account.
You may contact me directly or feel free contact the library's front desk at 724-838-4291 to speak to a librarian on duty. Any of the Reeves librarians will be happy to help you with your research.
For additional video tutorials, check out our YouTube channel.