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Google Like a Scholar: Evaluating Web Sources

Learn to be a Power Searcher in Google

Evaluating Websites

Does the information you found, pass the Smell Test? The CRAPP test? or the DRAMA test?

Critical thinking and evaluation are important because they focus on public evidence and challenge blind authority and individual bias.

Critical evaluation means careful and exact thinking. It means looking for public forms of evidence rather than simply accepting what we are told or our own biased intuitions.

Website Evaluation

Website Evaluation

Anyone can create a website. It's your job to determine if a website is an appropriate resource for your paper. That means the website must be written by an authoritative person, without bias, and without trying to sell you something. Many websites are trying to sell you a product, and will do anything to convince you that you need that product, including publishing "informative" articles meant to sway your opinion. It's your job to sort these websites out of your searches, finding the good stuff and avoiding the bad. But how do you know what's bad or flat out misinformation?

Stop the D.R.A.M.A. around website selection! Use the checklist below as a guide to evaluate websites:

Date

  • How recent is the information?
  • Is the information current enough for your topic?

Relevance

  • Does the content of the source match your topic?

Accuracy

  • Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
  • Do the links on the webpage work properly?
  • Does the author provide references or sources for data?

Motivation

  • Why did the author create this source? To inform? To sell you something? To entertain? To sway your opinion?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased?

Authority

  • Who wrote this source?
  • What are the creator's credentials? Do they have a PhD or an advanced degree from an accredited university?
  • Who is the publisher?