Evaluating information

Evaluating your sources: knowing the good from the bad

Knowing if a source is going to useful for your research is an important skill to develop, especially when you are faced with a huge number of search results.

One of the most basic questions you can ask when deciding whether or not to use a source is, does the source add anything to your work? It’s important to realise that just because a piece of information is from an academic source, it doesn’t mean that it will be the right thing to use for your topic.

So remember that a quality source will be no good to you if it isn’t relevant to the point you are making. The context in which you are using the source, whether academic or popular, will be key!

For example:

Essay: Discuss the influence of blogging on the fashion retail industry

Sources: you will need to read examples of fashion blogs and reference them in your essay. A fashion blog would not normally be viewed as an academic source, but in this context you need to analyse some blogs to be able to write your esssay. You can then add depth to your essay by referring to academic research about topics such as marketing communications.

Audio file

Listen to this short excerpt from an interview with one of our staff about spotting clues to the quality of sources.

Listen to more from that interview

Introducing the CRAAP test

Is it CRAAP?

The CRAAP test can be a good way to sift through sources.


  • Is the information up-to-date?
  • Does this matter?


  • Does it relate well to your research area?


  • Who is the author or source?
  • Are they credible?


  • Is it reliable, truthful, correct?


  • Reason it exist/who is it aimed at?


To learn more about thinking and reading critically see:
• Thinking Critically
• Reading Critically
• Being critical of the digital world

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Wed, 09/16/2020 - 09:27