Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources:  

Ask yourself these questions when reviewing information: TRAAP

Timeliness - the timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?

  • Has the information been revised or updated?

  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?

Relevance - the information meets your needs.

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

  • 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?

Authority - the source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?

  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?

  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy - the reliability and correctness of the content.

  • Where does the information come from?

  • Is the information supported by evidence?

  • Are there sources cited on the website or in the article?

Purpose - the reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, or persuade?

  • Is the information fact or opinion?

  • Does the website have bias for one point of view?

Adapted from the Meriam Library at the California State University


Drive-By Evaluations:

1. Tree Octopus

2. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

3. Prairie Dogs 

4. Aluminum Foil Deflector

5. Deep Sea Creatures