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SOCW 3201: Social Work Practice: Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

Information about almost any subject is easy to find; however, not all information is good information.  An essential part of academic research and writing is learning how to critically analyze and evaluate your sources to eliminate old, incorrect, or irrelevant information.

Put the information to the CRAAP Test!

The CRAAP Test provides a good guide for analyzing your research sources. Here is a link to an accessible PDF of this information.

Guide for analyzing research sources

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.

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


This information has been adapted from "Evaluating Information-Applying the CRAAP Test" by the staff at Meriam Library, California State University-Chico. The source material can be accessed here.
"Evaluating Information-Applying the CRAAP Test." 26 Sept. 2009. Meriam Lib., California State University-Chico. CSU-Chico ReSEARCH Station. Web. 11 Jan. 2010.



Popular Webpage Domain Extensions:

Characteristics of .com websites

  • .com originally identified for-profit company websites
  • These pages can be sponsored by individuals or non-profit organizations
  • .com sites are often sources of reliable information, but not necessarily. Evaluate .com websites carefully

Characteristics of .edu websites

  • Most official .edu pages would be considered reliable sources 
  • A tilde (~) in the URL usually indicates a student or faculty member's personal webpage.  Personal sites can vary in quality.

Characteristics of .gov websites

  • Includes U.S. state, federal, and military information
  • Domain names reflect the organization names in the Federal Government & non- Federal government entities in the United States; Used to promote government services. Usually treated as acceptable sources for academic papers

Characteristics of .org websites

  • Are not necessarily a non-profit organization
  • Often contain excellent information, but many are created in support of a specific position or agenda. Analyze their contents carefully.