Evaluating information

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Being able to identify high-quality, credible information is a hugely useful skill in your studies and your day-to-day life. Here at the Library, we aim to equip you with all the tools and knowledge you need to avoid fake news and make sure you’re using the right kind of information in your assessments.

One quick way to check the quality of most types of information is the CRAP test. It teaches you to interrogate the Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose of a resource. For more on how to apply the CRAP test, watch our short video on evaluating information below.

The criteria you use to evaluate information will depend on the type of resource you’re dealing with. The CRAP test is a great start, but the gold-standard for scholarly information is peer review. Peer review applies to journal articles that have been closely scrutinised by a team of subject experts to ensure they are accurate, reliable, methodologically sound and free from bias. When your assessment specifies that you use scholarly or peer-reviewed resources, it’s because this process all but guarantees that an article passes the Reliability, Authority and Purpose criteria of the CRAP test. You’ll need to account for Currency yourself by setting a date range as part of your search strategy. We recommend five years as a good rule of thumb! The next video walks you through checking for peer review using Ulrichsweb, a global directory tracking journals and their peer review status.

As always, get in touch with the Library if you have any questions about peer-review or evaluating any types of information. Happy evaluating!