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Evaluating Sources: Evaluating Websites

Evaluating Websites

Let's examine websites with the CRAAP criteria

Currency
Can you tell when the site or page was created and when it was last updated?  Are there dead links on the site?
How important is it that you have the most up to date information for your research topic?

Relevance
Is the information relevant to your topic?  If relevant, does the site or page answer all or just some of your questions?  Are there gaps to fill?
Is the scope of the site too broad or too narrow?

Authority
Who is the author or creator of the site and are their credentials listed?  If not, can you find their credentials elsewhere?
Are there advertisements on the site and if so, for what?
Who is the publisher or sponsor of the site and are they an authority on the topic or issue?
Is the site a .com, .gov, .org, etc?  What kind of domain is found in the URL?
.com: used for commercial sites; purpose is to sell something.
.net: can be used by anyone or any entity; often used by businesses.
.edu: used by universities and other educational organizations.
.org: typically used by non-profit entities that are not educational or commercial entities.
.gov: used by departments, agencies or offices of the U.S. federal government.
Country codes: used as abbreviations for countries, such as .de for Germany or .us for United States.

Accuracy
Are you able to find other sources of information that provide similar information or make similar claims?
Does any of the information strike you as very different from what you already know about the topic?
Does the web page or site offer citations or refer to other sources of information, and do those sources pass the CRAAP test too?
Are there spelling or typographical errors?

Purpose
Is the web site or page trying to sell or persuade?  Does it appear to be mostly made up of opinion, fact, or opinion based on fact?
Who is the intended audience of the website? Is the language basic or technical?
Does the site have an "about" section or introductory / background information that you can review to help determine a mission, point of view, or agenda?