Every year early in the fall semester, the Library and the Center for Writing and the Arts (CWA) partner on a workshop for students called Research for Writing. Assistant library director/electronic resources librarian, Duane Carter, and writing center director Dr. Claire Colombo teach this back-to-school workshop on the basics of research for academic writing. They guide students through the processes of:
Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose
When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Authority: The source of the information.
examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
California State University, Chico; Meriam Library 9/17/2010
When searching for information on a topic, it is important to understand the value of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.
Primary sources allow researchers to get as close as possible to original ideas, events, and empirical research as possible. Such sources may include creative works, first-hand or contemporary accounts of events, and the publication of the results of empirical observations or research. We list sources for historical primary documents.
Secondary sources analyze, review, or summarize information in primary resources or other secondary resources. Even sources presenting facts or descriptions about events are secondary unless they are based on direct participation or observation. Moreover, secondary sources often rely on other secondary sources and standard disciplinary methods to reach results, and they provide the principle sources of analysis about primary sources.
Tertiary sources provide overviews of topics by synthesizing information gathered from other resources. Tertiary resources often provide data in a convenient form or provide information with context by which to interpret it.
The distinctions between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources can be ambiguous. An individual document may be a primary source in one context and a secondary source in another. Encyclopedias are typically considered tertiary sources, but a study of how encyclopedias have changed on the Internet would use them as primary sources. Time is a defining element.
Virginia Tech Library Sources