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SPANISH308: Advanced Writing and Reading (Sotomayor / Fall 2019): The Nuts and Bolts of Research: Resource Evaluation

Library Resources for your research papers.

How To Evaluate Research Resources: The CRAP Test

Hemingway line art portrait"Every man [and woman] should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him." -- Ernest Hemingway

Use the CRAP test to evaluate potential research resources:

Currency:

  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?

Reliability:

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is it balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority:

  • Who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials?
  • Who is the published or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?

Purpose/Point of View:

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased?
  • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

Fake News Quiz

Identifying Fake News Sources

Fauxtography: Identifying Fake Photos on the Internet

I'm supposed to find "scholarly journals." What are those?

Scholarly journals, also called peer-reviewed, academic, or refereed journals, are different than popular publications such as magazines and newspapers. There is no single defining characteristic of a scholarly journal. In general, a scholarly journal article often:

  • Reports on original research or contains a new theoretical discussion
  • Is written by a credentialed expert in their field
  • Contains footnotes and/or a bibliography
  • Is written for an audience of students and scholars and uses specialized language
  • Is published by a professional organization
  • Contains little to no advertising

The library database Ulrichsweb may be used to determine if a periodical is refereed. Many other library databases, such as Academic Search, index scholarly journals and allow you to limit your search results to only scholarly articles. Our main search tool, Search@UW, also allows for limiting to peer-reviewed periodicals.

See also: What is a Scholarly Article? Explore our Finding Articles tutorial, or Ask a Librarian for help in identifying scholarly journals.