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Film and Media Studies: Evaluating Sources/How to Read a Scholarly Article

Why Evaluate?

Locating information, whether in traditional print format or in electronic format, is only the first step in doing research. The next step is to evaluate the quality and the usefulness of what you find.

When using websites, the evaluation process is more important than ever since anyone who has an account on a computer linked to the Internet can put up a website. They don't have to be intelligent or knowledgeable, scholarly or authoritative, and in most cases, the "information" they put on these pages does not have to pass any kind of scrutiny or editing process.

How to Read and Evaluate Scholarly Articles

Evaluating Web Sources

The Web can be a valuable source for research, however, websites should never be relied on as your sole source of information. Sources found on websites should enhance your research when used in conjunction with journals, books, and media. Most webpages do not undergo a lengthy editing process; they can be created quickly and easily, and there is no quality control process to ensure their accuracy. In short, a website can look very professional but still contain inaccurate and biased information.

Evaluation Criteria- the CRAAP test

Currency-

  • When was the information published?
  • Is the information current or out of date for your topic?
  • Has the information been updated?

Relevancy-

  • Does the information relate to your topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level?

Authority-

  • Who is the author/publisher/source?
  • What are the author’s credentials or affiliations?
  • Is the author considered an expert in this field?

Accuracy-

  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Can you verify the information provided in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Is the source peer-reviewed?

Purpose-

  • What is the purpose of the information? To sell? Persuade? Educate? Entertain?
  • Is the information impartial and objective?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

 

The CRAAP Test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico.