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ENG 122: Academic Writing II [Research Essay] - (Barngrover): Evaluating Resources

Credible Sources Video

Information Cycle

Media Sources

When using a media resource such as those listed below, be sure to check on the credibility of the publication/website and/or the author's credentials.

Mediabias/Factcheck rates the factual reporting and bias of media sourcesUse the search feature on the top right of the page to check the bias of any source. Enter the name or url of the resource in the search box; then click on the name in the results list to view the ratings. (See link below.)

Examples of media resources:

New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, NPR, The Guardian, 

Buzzfeed, Bustle, The Daily Beast, The Feminist Wire,  Jezebel, MediumRefinery29, The Ringer, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Variety, Vox, Vulture

Evaluating Sources of Information

To evaluate a source of information, try the following CAARP test:

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  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?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?

 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?

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?

 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?

Note: This test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico.