Good, Better, Best Sources

Should you use Google or Library resources for a paper?  Good question!  The short answer is you can use both--as long as you know when each is appropriate, and you keep a handle on how long the research and source evaluation is taking you so that you have time to actually write the paper...

Why use a database instead of Googling around?  Try this:

     Open Google (or any favorite search engine)
     Type in the terms you want to search
     How many entries do you have to look at?
     How many do you know automatically come from a current, reliable, authoritative,
     accurate, purposeful

Now, how much time do you actually have to gather sources?

The internet can have some great stuff--but a database has already proofed where the materials search are gathered from so you already know they will pass the C.R.A.A.P. test.  And, most databases will provide citations for you, so working on your bibliography can be much easier.  Many databases are also starting to integrate with Google Apps and MicrosSoft, so you can electronically make notes, highlight, and then transfer the materials into your research folder, so its there for you to pull out bits during your project. 

There are a lot of different ways to evaluate the quality of the items you want to use in your research.  Using the C.R.A.A.P. test is one of the easiest and most basic ways to check to see if you have a "good" source.

So, when you have a research resource you have questions about, simply ask yourself the following questions:

 Evaluating Sources with CRAAP
 C  Currency--is this a fairly recent article?
 R  Relevance--Does the information in this article relate to your topic
or answer our question?

 A  Authority--Who authored and/or published this information? 
Are they qualified to write/publish on this topic?

 A  Accuracy--Is it reliable? Truthful? Is the content correct?
Where does the information come from?  Do they support their statements with evidence? Can you verify this with another source? Has it been reviewed by anyone?

 P  Purpose--What was the reason the information was published?
Isit objective, impartial, and unbiased? Is it informative/factual/opinionated/propaganda?