ENGLISH 1102 Course Materials

Make Sure Your Website is CRAAP!

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • 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 one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?  Examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government), .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

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 biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

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

By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = worst, 10=best possible) you can give each site a grade on a 50 point scale for how high-quality it is!

45 - 50 Excellent | 40 - 44 Good | 35 - 39 Average | 30 - 34 Borderline Acceptable | Below 30 - Unacceptable

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico.

Scholarly?

ARTICLES

Journals, magazines, and newspapers can be divided into four basic categories:

1. Scholarly

2. General Interest / Substantive News

3. Popular

4. Sensational

 SCHOLARLY journals require articles to be reviewed by other experts or scholars in the same field (thus "peer reviewed") who must agree that the article in question meets the standards of that profession.  This ensures that the content of the article is as valid and reliable as possible.

How do you tell if a journal is scholarly?  Look for an abstract, or citations in the form of bibliographies.  These are both clues.  Most importantly, though, the databases in GALILEO allow you to modify your searches to include only those materials that are peer reviewed!

(More information on the four basic categories can be found here!)  

BOOKS

Think "APPLE".

Author - is the author an expert in his/her field?

Purpose - what kind of information is the book trying to convey?

Publisher - who made the book available?

Language - how sophisticated is the language used in the text?

Evidence - what sources does the author use to draw conclusions?

(This is just a brief list - for more on distinguishing a popular book from a scholarly book, go HERE!)

 

Primary and Secondary Sources?

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary sources are those documents or physical objects written or created during the time under study.  In other words, these sources were present at that time, and offer an inside view of a particular event.

Some types of primary sources include:

ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS: Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records
CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art
RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Examples of primary sources include:

Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII
The U. S. Constitution - American history
A journal article reporting NEW research or findings
Confederate sword - Civil War history
Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece

 

Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources.  These sources are a step removed from the primary source.  They may include quotes, images, or other parts of a primary source, but they are not themselves primary. Your textbooks would be considered secondary sources, and so would a book ABOUT the Civil War, or an article reviewing several original research projects.

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