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Senior Project: 3. Select

Guide to the research process required to complete the WSA Senior Project.

The Research Process

research process

The third stage of the research process is to select the information you need.

When you search for information you will find LOTS!!  You need to be able to evaluate and select the best material for use in your research and writing.

The CRAAP Test was developed by the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico to help you evaluate the information you find.  It is a list of questions that help you determine if the sources you found are accurate and reliable.  Keep in mind that this list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

The CRAAP TestOn this page you can:

Read  the list of questions in the CRAAP test (to the right)
Watch the video below about  evaluating websites (using the CAPOW test!)
Download a PDF copy of the CRAAP test (below)

See other pages in this section with more detail on the CRAAP test questions:

Currency: The timeliness of the information
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs
Authority: The source of the information
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content
Purpose: The reason the information exists

CAPOW - How to Evaluate a Website

One way to remember how to evaluate information on websites is CAPOW  (Pronounced:  KAPOW!)  

This video from the Chapman Learning Commons at the University of British Columbia provides a framework for assessing websites:

C:  Currency
A:  Authority
P:  Purpose
O:  Objectivity
W:  Writing Style

Chapman Learning Commons. Internet Skills 1: How to Evaluate a Website.   YouTube. U of British Columbia, 4 May 2011.
     Web. 17 Aug. 2015. <https://youtu.be/0UuShwtYpGg>. 

The CRAAP Test

When you search for information you will find LOTS!!  You need to be able to evaluate and select the best information for your needs.

The CRAAP Test was developed by the Meriam Library at California State University to help you evaluate the information you find.  It is a list of questions that help you determine if the sources you found are accurate and reliable.  Keep in mind that the following list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Ask yourself the following questions:

 

Currency: The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the source been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • (If you are using the Web:) Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level? (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on this topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • (If you are using the Web:) Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?  Examples:  .com, .edu, .gov, .org, .net
  • Is there contact information for author/ publisher/ sponsor?

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  •  Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  •  Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  •  Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information?  Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  •  Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  •  Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Download a copy of the C.R.A.A.P. test here:

         

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