Types of Information Sources
The CRAAP Test
- To verify the currency of the information, check the website for a copyright date, or 'last updated' date, often at the very bottom of the page.
- Try the links on the page. If many of them are 'broken', it is likely that the page has not been updated recently or is not well maintained.
- Check that the information is relevant to your question. Choose your search terms carefully to retrieve the most relevant results.
- Who is the intended audience of the website? Is the information meant for health consumers (lay people) or health professionals?
- A good website will provide clear information as to the author/owner of the site and the source of the information. You should be able to find an 'About' link somewhere on the page.
- Legitimate sites often provide contact information.
- The web address can be a clue to authorship: .edu indicates an educational institution and .gov indicates a government website.
- By adding site: .gov to your Google search, you can easily limit your keyword search to government websites. Adding site:.edu will limit the search to websites of educational institutions.
- The accuracy of the information can be difficult to determine, but some clues may be a warning sign. Trust your judgement and beware of sites that make health claims that you know to be false or that are debunked by another reliable, trustworthy source.
- Beware of biased or opinionated language.
- Steer clear of websites that are poorly written, full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, or lots of exclamation points.
- The purpose of a reliable health information website should be to teach or inform. The information should be objective and impartial.
- Beware of sites whose primary purpose seems to be selling products, entertaining, or sites that are strongly biased or opinionated.
How to read and comprehend scientific articles
Reading Scientific Articles: Some Questions to Ask
- Is the sample size appropriate? Was a control group used? Were the presented data statistically treated? Were the experiments well standardized? In summary: Were the experiments carried out according to the scientific method?
- Were the conclusions derived from the results of the reported experiments?
- Were statements not based on experiments supported by scientific article references?
- Is the abstract appropriate? Does the title describe the article content?
- Were the keywords well selected?
- Are the references current?
- Was the research subject relevant from either the social or academic viewpoint?
- Does the article contribute new information or does it repeat what is known?
From De Avila, P., & Torres, B. B. (2010). Introducing undergraduate students to science. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 38(2), 70-78.