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Library

CMJ 215- Juvenile Justice: Evaluating Your Sources

This guide was created for CMJ 215's in-depth analysis of a specific issue within a country's juvenile system

Evaluating Sources with the CRAAP Test

Before using an online source for your paper, be sure to evaluate it.
Does it meet the qualifications of a quality, scholarly resource?

Check for:

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    examples: .com, .edu, .gov, .org, or .net

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? 
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Lateral Reading

Read Laterally!

  • Can you confirm claims in another source?
  • How does the source fit in with what you are finding elsewhere?
  • What do experts say?

Get out of your social silo:
-learn who to trust
-look for patterns
-don’t share something you aren’t sure is true
-be responsible socially