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CORE 115 Critical Thinking, Identity, Community: Evaluating Web Sites

Research guide for the research paper on identity formation.

Search Engines

These are more likely to return sites from credible sources.  They save time by automatically filtering out poor quality material so you don't have to.

When to Use Resources Found on the Internet

Use Internet Sources when:

You are prepared to evaluate the credibility of what you find

Much of the internet is opinion, undocumented, or otherwise not suitable for academic research.  While good information can be found on the internet, it is mixed in with poorer quality material.  Be prepared to spend time weeding the bad from the good.

You need Popular Culture or very current information

You know the website you are searching is credible

See Evaluating Web Sites above, or use one of the recommended Search Engines on the page.


CRAP Test:  Guide to Evaluating Websites

(and other sources)


It’s easy to find information … but is it good information?  Ask these questions to help you determine if the source is appropriate for your purpose.




  • How recent is the information?
  • Date published v. date added v. no date
  • Is the date appropriate for your topic?



  • Does it relate to your topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?  Does it match your audience?






  • Is there an author?  Is this person or organization an expert?
  • Are author credentials given?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is there a bibliography or links to the actual information cited?
  • Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda?



Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this a biased source?
  • Is this fact or opinion?  Whose opinion?
  • Is the site trying to sell you something? (.com, .edu., .gov, .org)