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Music Basics: Evaluating Sources

Start here if you are just learning how to do music research at Butler.

For more information:

Evaluating Web Pages by UC Berkeley

Evaluating Web Resources ~ Master Chart


CRITERIA Question 1 Question 2 Question 3
Source Is it clear who the author of the page is? Is there contact information present? What is the source of content? Books? Other web sites?
Currency When is the last revised or updated date? Is it clear what is new content? Are there a lot of "dead" or moved links?
Scope What range of topics are covered? Who is the intended audience? Age/grade levels? Is the focus comprehensive or narrow?
Content Is there a clear motivation/bias? Is the information given similar to print? Are references or sources given?
Authority What is the expertise of the author? Who is the sponsor of the site? Is the domain name ".edu"? ".org"? ".com"?


Evaluating Journals & Periodicals ~ Summary Chart

CATEGORY Scholarly Trade General
Author researchers, scholars and experts people in field, specialized journalists journalists
Length longer, in-depth articles some lengthy, mostly shorter articles short, a few pages at the most
Language uses vocabulary of the discipline uses the jargon of the field simple, general vocabulary
Publisher university & scholarly presses, professional organizations professional organizations and trade publishers commercial and trade publishers
Sources footnotes & bibliographies alwaysincluded usually cited, but not as extensive generally not cited
Graphics charts, tables, almost no advertisements some illustrations & ads related to the profession lots of photographs and advertisements
Intended Value to share original research with the academic community and other scholars trends, news and information for the field current events, news, popular culture, and entertainment
Examples Foreign Affairs, Journal of Educational Psychology, American Economic Review Farm Industry News, HR Magazine, Automotive News, Library Journal, Franchise Times Time, Newsweek, People, US News & World Report

Some Things to Consider When Evaluating Information Sources:

The CRAP Test

Evaluate Sources Based on the Following Criteria:
Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View

  • Currency
    • How recent is the information?
    • How recently has the website been updated?
    • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • Reliability
    • What kind of information is included in the resource?
    • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is is balanced?
    • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
  • Authority
    • Who is the creator or author?
    • What are the credentials?
    • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
    • Are they reputable?
    • What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
    • Are there advertisements on the website?
  • Purpose/Point of View
    • Is this fact or opinion?
    • Is it biased?
    • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

(adapted from LOEX 2008 wiki)


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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