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FYS: Roots and Regions (Bigelow): Evaluate & Cite

Research tips and resources for "Best City" assignment

Cite Your Sources

Tip:  For help on how to integrate sources into your paper, see the section on "signal phrases" in the Pocket Style Manual by Diana Hacker.

The CRAP Test

The CRAP Test

Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose and Point of View

Man carrying a sign that says "Judgement Day May 21, 2011"

When was the information published or posted?

Do you need historical or current information?

Has this information been revised or changed since it was first released?


BOTTOM LINE: Does this offer appropriately current or historical information?

Image: Bummer by Nick Harris1Used under CC BY-ND

The word reliable. The letters that make up the word are starting to fall off.What kind of information is included in this resource?

Is the content of the resource primarily opinion?

Is it balanced?

Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?


BOTTOM LINE:  Is this quality, trustworthy information?

Image: "Reliable" by Eva the Weaver. Used underCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Man standing with several cameras hanging around his neck. Cannot see man's face.

Who is the author?  Who is the publisher?

  • What expertise do they have with this subject?
  • What is their educational background?
  • Where are they from? Where are they living now?
  • What political party do they belong to?
  • What organizations or causes do they support?
  • Are there any other biases you can ascertain?

BOTTOM LINE: Can you trust this author and publisher to know what they're talking about?

Image: [Man with Cameras] by i k o. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

World War Two poster that says "Millions of troops are on the move; is your trip necessary?"

What is the purpose of this information source?

  • To entertain? Inform? Educate? Pursuade? Sell? 
  • Are advertisements included? Photographs?

Is the information fact, opinion, or propoganda?

Do the authors/publishers make their intentions clear?

  • Is there bias - political, cultural, religious, ideological, personal, etc?

BOTTOM LINE: Is this source objective and impartial, or is it influenced by bias or hidden agendas?

Image: "Is your trip necessary?" by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious.Used under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Scholarly vs Popular Articles

Tip:  Scholarly articles may also be called "peer-reviewed" articles or academic articles.

Chart details popular and scholarly article differences. For popular articles, journalists or professional writers are the authors. They are written for the general public and often include color, photos, and advertisements. They tend to be short and are written so the average reader can understand them. They give broad overviews of issues that the public cares about, and they rarely cite their sources. They are recommended for general reading, finding topic ideas, and learning basics or perspectives for your topic. Scholarly articles are written by scholars, faculty members, researchers, or professionals in the field. They are written for other scholars or professionals, so they use a lot of technical jargon and academic language. They are mostly text with perhaps a few charts or graphs. They tend to be lengthy and cover narrow topics related to specific fields. They include full citations for many credible sources. Scholarly articles are recommended as sources for academic work or professional development. They also help you learn about new research being conducted in a given field of study.

Scholarly & Popular Articles by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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