When searching for information on the "free web," you need to be critical. Here are a few reasons:
Below you will find the ABC Test and the CRAAP Test, two ways to remember things you need to look for when choosing a website.
If you need help evaluating a website.. Ask a Librarian!
Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia that contains articles about nearly any topic. It may be tempting to use it as a resource for an assignment, but keep in mind that most instructors WILL NOT accept Wikipedia as an acceptable source. Why? Wikipedia entries can be edited by anyone that has access to a computer and creates a Wikipedia account. This often compromises the quality of information that may appear in Wikipedia entries. The last thing you want to do is to use false information in your assignments.
So what do you do? Use Wikipedia as a starting point for your research, but utilize the cited references and go to the original source.
When evaluating websites or any other information sources, use the following ABC Test to help evaluate the information you find:
uthority: The source of the information.
ias: The reason the information exists.
redibility: The reliability, correctness, and believability of the content.
When evaluating websites or any other information sources, use the following CRAAP test to help evaluate the information you find. This checklist applies to any resource you may use for a school assignment, but keep in mind that some items are specific to websites.
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
The CRAAP test is provided by the Meriam Library California State University, Chico
All guides are available under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.