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Getting a Handle on the Research Project (FYS 199L) : Evaluating Information

Some things to think about when approaching research assignments.

Scholarly vs. Popular

Many college assigments require locating scholarly resources as opposed to popular resources. It's important for students to grasp the distinction between these classes of information.


  • Authored by experts for experts
  • Use technical language and are heavily documented
  • Employ research techniques
  • Are often"peer reviewed" by experts in the authors field
  • Used to communicate new research



  • Geared to the general public
  • Authored by jounalists and non-experts
  • Use non-technical language with no documentation 
  • Are designed to inform and entertain

A good short  visual introduction to this distinction is provided by this site from the library at the University of Southern Indiana:


General Standards to Evaluate Information

Take the CRAAP test to evaluate your information:

C  urrency- How old is your information? Is it to old to support your topic?

R  elevance- Is the information topical? Does it address your topic? Is it at an appropriate level?

A  uthority- Who authored the information? What are their credentials?  Is the source credible?

A  ccuracy-  Does it stand up to other sources? Does it have grammatical mistakes or factual errors?

P  urpose- Whats the information for?  Is the information biased to a particular point of view?

This is a video from the library at Parkland Community College on the CRAAP evaluation standards:


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