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Syracuse University Libraries

WRT 105: Research Starting Points Guide [Instructor, Gabriella Wilson - Fall 2021]

Two Scatalogical Acronyms - Evaluating Sources

Consider each of these factors when assessing sources you uncover

C = Currency [Timeliness of the information]

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R = Relevance [Importance of the information for your needs]

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A = Authority [Source of the information]

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A = Accuracy [Reliability, correctness, and truthfulness of the content]

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P = Purpose [The reason the information exists]

 

 

§SMELL
In 2013, journalist John McManus in writing for the publication “Mediashift,” employed this acronym


A similar rubric to the CRAAP test, but with some unique elements, consider these factors for each of the sources you uncover
 

S = Source [Who is providing the information?]

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M = Motivation [Why are they telling me this?]

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E = Evidence [What evidence is provided for generalizations?]

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L = Logic [Do the facts logically compel the conclusions?]

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L = Left Out [What is missing that might change our interpretation of the information?]

Additional Questions When Evaluating Sources

This chart contains a variety of questions that you should ask yourself when evaluating books, periodicals, and web sites based on five main criteria.

 

Five Criteria for Evaluating Sources
Criteria Questions to Ask Yourself When Evaluating:
Currency
  • What is the publication/creation date?
  • Does this time period meet your information need?
  • When was the last update?
  • Are all the links up-to-date? (for web resources)
Authority
  • Who is the author? What are his/her credentials?
  • Has this author been cited in your other sources?
  • Who is publishing this information (individual, non-profit organization, commercial entity)?
Validity/Accuracy
  • Do other sources contain the same information?
  • Is evidence given to support the information?
  • Are other sources cited?
  • If the information is outdated, does it still accurately reflect the knowledge in the field?
  • Are there selection criteria given for the links to other pages and are the links relevant to the topic (for web resources)?
  • Is the site edited, or does it contain typographical errors (for web resources)?
Audience
  • Who is the intended audience (students, researchers, trade members)?
  • Is this source appropriate for your needs and understanding of the topic?
Point of View (Bias)
  • Does the source present the information from a particular bias or single viewpoint?
  • Does the information contain the facts or an interpretation of the facts?
  • Does the source contain assumptions or opinions that are not backed by research?
  • Does the sponsoring organization or site have a stake in how the information is presented?
  • Does the information contain advertising?