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Issues in Biology Guide: Evaluating Sources

A guide to information on issues in biology for Centralian Senior College students.

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See chapter 8 for an excellent overview on evaluating print and online sources of information.

What is a Scholarly Article?

Evaluating Internet Resources

It is important to evaluate any information you find on the Internet as a lot of online information does not go through a review process. This means it is not checked by editors and experts in the subject area for accuracy.

Here are some questions you can ask to help you evaluate a web-based resource:

Currency

  • Is a year or date of creation displayed on the web page (usually at the bottom of the page)?
  • When was the information last updated?
  • How old is the information on the web page?

Authority - Individual Authors

  • Who has written or contributed to the web page (usually in an About Me link)?
  • What qualifications or professional positions does the writer hold?
  • Are the author's qualifications and experience relevant to the subject being written about?
  • What other publications has the author been involved in?

Authority - Organisations

  • Which organisation has published the web page (Click on the About Us link)?
  • Is it a commercial or non-profit organisation?
  • Is there a political, commercial or other agenda for publishing the material?

Credibility

  • Does the author provide supporting evidence for their claims?
  • Is the author's argument presented in a logical manner?
  • Does the author use neutral language?
  • Is there a bibliography or list of references at the end of the web page?

Evaluating Your Sources

Watch this video to learn how to apply the CRAAP test when evaluating your sources.

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