So, you have done some research and found some information in books, journals and on the web ... but how do you know whether what you have found is good enough to use in your assignment?
We recommend that you use the CRAAP test to evaluate your research findings before you spend time reading or writing. CRAAP stands for
Currency Relevance Authority Accuracy Purpose
Let's look very briefly at what each word of the CRAAP test means for you:
Currency looks at the timeliness of the information. Some subject areas that change quickly eg ICT may often demand very recent sources of information, but other subject areas will accept older sources of information. Currency criteria will also change depending on whether you are researching the history of something or current trends.
Relevance looks at the importance of the information for your needs. Sometimes you will find some great information but it goes off on a tangent from your assignment question. Examine how closely related to your topic is the information that you found.
Authority examines the source of the information that you found. Is the person/people/organisation who wrote the information respected and well qualified in the area?
Accuracy looks at whether the information is reliable, correct and truthful. Is the information biased or trying to sell you and idea or a product?
Purpose looks at the reason why the information exists. Is this reason clear and is the information objective?
Want to know more? We recommend watching the videos on this page - they provide really useful hints and tips.
Anyone can put anything on the web! The quality of the website does not necessarily guarantee quality of information. It is up to you to use your critical thinking skills to decide if the information is correct and useful. Luckily there are a number of sites that help you check the facts.