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College Prep 101: Using Websites

Research, Writing and Study Skills

Parts of this page were borrowed from...

Psychology LibGuide. Thank you to the author of that guide Roen Janyk, Okanagan College.

 

CRAP TEST

CRAP TEST
http://libguides.southmountaincc.edu/CRAPtest

Currency
Reliability
Authority
Purpose/Point of View 

CARS

The CARS Checklist was originally developed at the University of California, San Francisco. 

C
redibility
Accuracy
Resonalableness
Support

PDF of a CARS checklist

Why Use Databases?

The open Internet only holds a small percentage of the information stored online. Using Library sources gives you access to private information, such as:

>Book content    

 >Original, primary, and historical documents

   >Subscribed content

    >Copyright protected material

Evaluating Web Sites

Authority

  • Who is the author and/or owner of the site?
  • Does the author have authority and expertise in the area?
  • What is the link's domain, .edu, .gov, or .com?
  • Are references or related links available?

Accuracy

  • Can you verify the information on the site elsewhere?
  • Is there a list of sources or references?
  • Has accuracy been proven through a review process?

Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it fact, opinion, selling something?
  • Is there advertising on the site, or is something being sold?

Currency

  • When was the site last updated? Is a copyright date available? 
  • Do the links work?
  • Is the information up to date for your research?

Relevance

  • Is there enough coverage of the topic?  
  • Does the information support the research you have already found?
  • Are links provided to find more information?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources?

Wikipedia etc.

Wikipedia can be great to find background information! 
 Wikipedia has an absence of accountability, people do not need to verify the truthfulness of the information 

"You see, any user can change any entry, and if enough other users agree with them, it becomes true."
Comedian Stephen Colbert 

The Internet vs. Databases

Examples

Internet

Databases

 Search engines, such as Google, websites Academic Search Premier, PsycINFO

Access 

 Any computer with Internet connection On-campus or off-campus with login

Cost

 Free Free to students, but Library pays subscription & licensing fees

Content by

 Anyone Scholars, professionals, experts, journalists

Content

 Anything and everything, pictures, personal opinions, blogs, articles, etc. Biased or often misleading to change visitors' opinion of site or organization. Full-text articles from reputable publications, often peer reviewed content. Full-text books and book chapters. References or links for related information. 

Appearance

 Personal pages, corporate pages, pages that look reliable but have no affiliation with reputable source, visually appealing pages to distract from content.  Little or no advertising, range of limiters available. Affiliated with reputable source, organization, individual or company. Contact information available. Often uses .org or .gov domains.

Publication

 Anytime by anyone, irregular schedule.

Typically published daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually. Journal/periodical issues usually identified by volume and/or issue number.

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