Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources

Cut through the CRAAP

Being able to evaluate sources of information is a very important skill for studying at University but also for everyday life.

Developing the skills needed to critically evaluate pieces of information will ensure that you are using appropriate resources in your assignments. It'll also help you get your head around the growing trend of fake news. This video from Western University gives some great tips on things to look out for.

 

Pro's and Con's

Whilst at University you will use a wide range of resources including books, journal articles and videos. It is always important to think about what are the pros and cons of each resource before using them. Click on each button for a few things consider.

Academic books

Pros

  • Reliable
  • Published
  • Accessible
  • Often written by experts
  • Less likely to be biased
  • Informative
  • Provides references to inform your research

Cons

 

  • Time consuming
  • Can be outdated
  • More difficult to access than some other resources
  • Self-published books may be less reliable

Images and cartoons

Pros

  • Quick
  • Easy to access
  • Informative
  • Representative of time and place
  • Tell a story
  • Can be stereotypical of it’s time

Cons

  • Can be biased
  • Limited in information it can covey
  • Need to check provenance (where it came from)
  • Need to know context
  • Can be manipulated

Journals

Pros

  • Informative
  • Reliable
  • Published
  • Peer reviewed
  • Short and more accessible than books
  • Provides references to help inform your own research
  • Written by experts
  • Answer an academic question

Cons

  • Very specific
  • Too scholarly
  • Harder to access

Newspapers

Pros

  • Current
  • Easy to access
  • Written by experts
  • Informative

Cons

  • Biased
  • Limited information
  • Sensationalist
  • Not reliable as too current

Websites

Pros

  • Easy to access
  • Easy to search/navigate
  • Informative
  • Easy to reference
  • Dedicated reliable, academic websites
  • Current

Cons

  • Need to question reliability
  • Anyone can create website
  • Fake/hoax websites
  • No review process on most websites
  • Check domain of website for who has created and why
  • Can change every day

Wikipedia

Pros

  • Quick
  • Easy to use
  • Current
  • Good starting point
  • Utilise references to inform own research
  • Easy to access

Cons

  • Anyone can contribute and edit articles
  • It has no formal editors or peer review process
  • Constantly changing
  • Potentially very biased
  • Articles are not translated between languages

YourTube

Pros

  • Easy to navigate
  • Easily digestible information
  • Informative
  • Current
  • Multi-media
  • Can be created by experts, universities, etc.
  • Some references given

Cons

  • Very broad ranging
  • Need to check origin/reliability
  • Limited information