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EAP101: Writing about Language Learning: Evaluating Sources

Why it is important to evaluate your sources

The internet is a wonderful thing. We have more information than ever available at our finger tips, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The internet has democratized who can publish and share information, and challenged many traditional publishing models. It is this feature of online publishing - that anyone with a computer, an internet connection, and the most rudimentary computer literacy can create and disseminate information - that poses a particular challenge for researchers. While we should be in the habit of critically evaluating all the information we consume (textbooks and scholarly information included!), websites, blogs and social media should be carefully analyzed to ascertain that they are quality, credible sources.  

A simple way you can do this is to practice the CRAP test:

  • Currency: When was it published? 
  • Relevancy: Is this related to what you are researching? 
  • Author: Who wrote this? Who do they work for? Do they have a good reputation? 
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of this website? Marketing? Education? 

Watch the videos below to learn more about why you need to evaluate information and some methods you can use in your own research.

Evaluating sources for credibility

Peer Review in Three Minutes