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COMM 1101 Workshop

Quality Control cover photo. Features a sunrise with stacked rocks.



Photo of an alarm clock sitting on a sunny window ledge

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Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?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

* Indicates criteria for Web only

Scrabble tiles spelling out the words audience, relevant, target, and context.
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 that this is the one you will use?

Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Photo of a gavel
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?

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 *

* Indicates criteria for Web only

Photo of a filled out crossword puzzle with some sections covered in white out.
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?

Scrabble tiles spelling out the word "purpose."
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?

Prepared by Kristin Johnson, CalState University, Chico 02/02--Used by Eli M. Oboler Library with permission 04/05/2005



Image of a brain with words on it like define, divide, and assume.

Rationale is important because books, articles, and web pages are made to serve a purpose. They can educate, entertain, or sell a product or point of view. Some sources may be frivolous or commercial in nature, providing inaccurate, false, or biased information. Other sources are more ambiguous about any potential partiality. Varied points of view can be valid if they are based on good reasoning and careful use of evidence.


1. Why did the author or publisher make this information available? Is there a sponsor advertising? Who pays to help make this information available?

2. Are alternative points of view presented?

3. Does the author omit any important facts or data that might disprove their claim?

4. Does the author use strong emotional language? Are there other emotional clues such as all caps?

Judge's Gavel

Authority is important in judging the credibility of the authors assertions. In a trial regarding DNA evidence, a jury would find a genetics specialists testimony far more authoritative compared to a testimony from a random person off the street.


1. What are the authors credentials?

2. Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or a prominent organization?

3. Can you find information about the author in reference books or on the internet?

4. Do other books or articles on the same research topic cite the author?

5. Is the publisher of the information source reputable?

6. If its on the internet, is it fabricated or intended as satire? Check the Aboutpage and Google it with the word faketo make sure its legit.

Alarm clock sitting on a sunndy window ledge

Date, or currency, is important to note because information can quickly become obsolete. Supporting your research with facts that have been superseded by new research or recent events weakens your argument. Not all assignments require the most current information; older materials can provide valuable information such as a historical overview of your topic. In some disciplines, the date of the source is less important.


1. When was the information published or last updated?

2. Have newer articles been published on your topic?

3. Are links or references to other sources up-to-date?

4. Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly,like technology or science?

5. Is the information obsolete?

Crossword puzzule with some of the letters covered with white out

Accuracy is important because errors and untruths distort a line of reasoning. When you present inaccurate information, you undermine your own credibility.


1. Are there statements you know to be false? Verify an unlikely story by finding a reputable outlet reporting the same thing.

2. Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published? Was it fact-checked? How do you know?

3. Do the citations and references support the authors claim? Are the reference correctly cited? Follow the links. If there are no references or bad references, this could be a red flag.

4. What do other people have to say on the topic? Is there general agreement among subject experts?

5. If applicable, is there a description of the research method used? Does the method seem appropriate and well-executed?

6. Was the item published by a peer-reviewed journal, academic press, or other reliable publisher?

7. If there are pictures, were they photo-shopped in? Use a reverse image search engine like TinEye to see where an image really comes from.

8. For websites, what is the domain? Fake sites often add .coto trusted brands (e.g.

Scrabble tiles spelling out the words audience, relevant, target, and context.

Relevance is important because you are expected to support your ideas with pertinent information. A source detailing Einsteins marriage would not be very relevant to a paper about his scientific theories.


1. Does the information answer your research question?

2. Does the information meet the stated requirements for the assignment?

3. Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?

4. Who is the intended audience?

5. Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?

6. Is the information focused on the geographical location you are interested in?

RADAR Evaluating InformationAdapted from: Mandalios, J. (2013). RADAR: An approachfor helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information  

               Science, 39, 470-478. doi: 10.1177/01655515134788889.

Meriam Library at California State University, Chico. (2010, September 17). Evaluating information-Applying the CRAAP test. Retrieved from



(S)cope: Audience & Medium

Who is the intended audience?  

Is this a scholarly professional publication?   

Popular literature, intended for the general public?

A source intended for children under age 14?

(C)urrency: The Timeliness of the Information

Is the information still considered valid?

Is it dated?

(O)riginality: New research? Analysis of primary research?

Is this a primary source, such as a report from a research study by the authors?

Is it a secondary source which interprets, analyzes or evaluates a primary source?

 Is it a tertiary source,  in which the source summarizes or provides commentary on another source?  

Is it simply opinion?

(R)eason: Why does the information exist?

What is the author's goal of the article / book / website?

(E)xpertise: The Credibility and Source of the Information

What qualifications does the author have?

Why is this author considered an "expert"?

Is the author trustworthy?

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