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MXC Research 101

Tools for Evaluating Sources

Is this source CRAP? Ask: Is it... Current? Relevant? Accurate/ An Authority? Purpose appropriate?

CRAP is an acronym for some of the most important criteria we consider when we evaluate resources. For each criteria look at what defines a good (green check), possibly good or could be better (yellow slow down hand), or not good (red X) source.

There are many types of sources we can evaluate. When we evaluate we ask two main questions: Is it true or credible? And is it appropriate for what I need? This matrix shows us where different types of sources may fall in credibility and in how scholarly or popular they are (ie. in which context they are most appropriate).

News media is a huge category! We've already decided where this category falls on our scholarly and credibility scales generally, but this slide helps us visually understand the range of where publications may fall on a political scale as well as a quality scale.

Here are some example sources and how they might deal with a particular issue. Which sources do you think might be used for different purposes?

This infographic explains the peer review process. Why might this type of article be the most appropriate type of source for some contexts? Who do you think the target audience is of a peer-reviewed scholarly article?

This example shows a tool used for planning sources. On the left it lists types of information needed. You (the researcher) fill in where and how you think you might find that information.