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Library 101 For Students: Evaluate!

A short introduction to the CCBC Libraries

Avoid Being Taken In By Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

TRRAAP Your Sources

TRRAAP your sources


Use the best! – To evaluate the material you find, answer these questions:

  •  Time - when was it written? Has it been updated? Is the date appropriate for your research?
  •  Relevance - does it relate to your topic or answer your question?
  •  Reliable—can you determine the source of the information? Can you tell what research methods were used?
  •  Authority – who is the author(s)? Are they qualified to write about the topic? How do you know?
  • Accurate – is the information trustworthy? Is it supported by evidence? Has it been tested for accuracy?
  •  Purpose – why was it written, to inform, sell, persuade? Is there a bias or is the material objective?

Evaluate Your Sources

Do not assume that everything you see in print or on your computer is accuate or reliable!

Everything that is published may not be appropriate for either your topic question or your paper/presentation.

Everything that is published may not be correct or factual.

Sometimes you may need a scholarly research article, sometimes you may need an internet site.

Plus you want to use the best and highest quality information that you can find--The better the source the better the paper!

Whatever information source you find you need to evaluate it before you use it.

Try thinking of the 5 W's for evaluation:

Who--who wrote it? Who are they and what are their credentials? Are they a reputable author in the subject? How do you know?

What--is the information consistent? Is the information factual? Does it fit with other information you have found in other sources?

Where--where did you find the information? Where was it published? Is that a reputable source?

When--when was it published? Current information? Historical information? Has the topic changed since the source was published?

Why--why was it published? To inform, to persuade, to convince? Think about bias of the author and of the publishing source.