Skip to main content

Research Services

About the Research Services department and how we can help you with your research

Intro to Internet Use for Research

In most cases, the Internet is not considered to be a good source of information for your college-level research projects.  There are many reasons why:this is true. Instead, use scholarly journal articles and books to find information and to cite in your class papers. 

However, some websites do offer useful information.  These tend to be sites that have been created by educational institutions (domain: .edu), government agencies (.gov), and organizations, especially non-profits (.org),   We are in the process of creating a list of some of the most useful websites. 

Meanwhile, use an evaluation criteria like the "CRAAP test," created by Kristin Johnson, CalState University, Chico 02/02-- (Used by Eli M. Oboler Library with permission), to help you evaluate the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose of a website.

Evaluating Information—Applying the CRAAP Test

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to determine if the information you have is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So, what are you waiting for? Is your web site credible and useful, or is it a bunch of . . .?!

Key: *indicates criteria for Web only

Evaluation Criteria

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  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic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

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?

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 .edu .gov .org .net *

Accuracy:  The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational 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 your own personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free from emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

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?

* Indicates criteria for Web only


Get Online Access Support
• Eli M. Oboler Library • 850 S. 9th Avenue • Stop 8089 • Pocatello, Idaho, USA 83209 • Site Feedback - Library Webmaster
Licensing Restrictions for Use of Electronic Resources