Before using the sources you have found, you should evaluate their relevance and scientific nature. Here we will offer you several methods and tools.
Sometimes entire publications are imitated having as aim satire, criticism, identity damage or commercial gain. That we are dealing with a fake publication may be clear from the start, but it may be done so subtly that you hardly notice it. In that case the exposing of a spoof is a question of experience and reading and viewing very carefully
NRC Next became victim of a spoof in the build-up to the 2012 elections of the Dutch parliament
You can use a book review to:
To be found in:
If you also want to use information from websites other than regular scholarly articles and books you should be extra careful and think about the role you give that information in your argument or analysis.
Ask yourself the following questions when reading webpages and be extra careful if the answer is negative most of the times.
To determine if a piece is relevant, you may try to answer the following questions:
Think that you will rarely find a source that provides a complete answer to your main questions and sub-questions.
In the special LibGuide Evaluating Sources you will find more information.
The reliability (scientific nature) of sources can be verified by three kinds of checks:
In the special LibGuide Evaluating sources you will learn how to deal with these matters
The CRAPMAP consists of a list of questions that help you to assess whether the (online) information you have found is reliable and useful. Depending on your situation, items from the list are more or less important. NB! Always stay alert! This checklist is just a tool and not always sufficient.
The timeliness of the information
When was the information published or posted?
Has the information been revised or updated? Or perhaps even retracted?
Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
The importance of the information for your needs
Does the information relate to your topic or answer your questions?
Who is the intended audience?
Is the information at an appropriate level (not too simple or too advanced)
Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
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 unbiased and free of emotion?
Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? [Second task or achievement]
The source of the information
Who is the author/publisher/source/journal/sponsor?
What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
Is the publisher/journal scientific? Are they reputable?
Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
The impact a source has on the scientific field
Are you able to find metrics for the source?
Is the source cited by current research?
The impact a source has in general
Are you able to find altmetrics for the source?
Is your research impacted by how well the source is received?
What does the public reception of a source indicate?
* For information about metrics and altmetrics see the LibGuide Research Impact & visibility: traditional and altmetrics
The reason the information exists.
What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Is there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, financial or personal bias?
This checklist is based on the CRA(A)P test, originally developed by the library of the California State University, Chico