Internet Research: What’s Credible?

When you’re doing research online and find some resources, how do you know that they’re credible resources? There are billions of websites on the Internet and it can be difficult to discern which ones to use in your research. Here’s a video from Films on Demand that provides an excellent overview of evaluating websites for credible information.

One tool mentioned in the video, which is good for evaluating a website’s credibility, is the CRAAP test. CRAAP stands forcurrency, relevance, accuracy, authority, and purpose.” You need to know how recently the website has been updated (currency), how well it relates to your topic (relevance), how accurate the information presented is, who wrote it (authority) and why the information has been presented (purpose).

The video includes tips for evaluating websites by asking questions, such as

  • What type of domain is the website (.org, .com, .biz, .gov, etc.)?
  • Who sponsors the website?
  • Who wrote the page and does he or she have an agenda? What else can you find out about the author? Can you find his or her credentials?
  • Is the language on the website unbiased and well-researched? Are the author’s resources themselves credible?

Finally, one of the most useful tips in the video is to consult with your own library and librarians. The Durham Tech library’s collections have been carefully curated and our online resources are from reputable aggregators (companies that collect millions of articles into one searchable database), but not every article you find in a database is going to meet every requirement of the CRAAP test.

Anytime you need help with your research, do not hesitate to contact the Durham Tech library!

About Stephen Brooks

Stephen is a reference librarian at Durham Tech. He has blogged previously at acqweb.org and for American Libraries magazine online. He enjoys reading 20th and 21st century literature, biographies and books about sports.