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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Salem Academy Charter School

Elicit Information

Start with the basics

  • Identify keywords and concepts - think of similar terms

  • Google it!  Currency Relevance Accuracy Authority Purpose (CRAAP it out!)

Domain Names

Domain Sample Address
.edu = educational institution
.gov = US government site
.org = organization or association
.com = commercial site
.museum = museum
.net = personal or other site

1. Currency

  • When was the information published or last updated?
  • Have more recent articles been published on your topic?
  • Does your topic change rapidly (popular culture, technology)?

2. Relevancy

  • Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?
  • Is the information too technical or simplified for you to use?
  • Does the information meet the requirements of the assignment?

3. Authority

  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Is the author affiliated with an educational institutional or prominent organization?
  • Is the relationship between the author and the institution clear?
  • Can you find information about the author from the source?

4. Accuracy

  • Any statements you know to be false?
  • Is it free from errors - spelling, punctuation, or grammar?
  • Are there links to other reliable sources?

5. Purpose

  • Is there an obvious bias or prejudice?
  • Are alternate points of view presented?
  • Is the author's purpose to sell, persuade, entertain or sell?

What are Credible Sources?


Practice Exercise: Bias/Unbiased

Scenario: Congress is currently debating a tax reform proposal that makes filing taxes easier.

  1. The author of the proposal
  2. A professor of tax law
  3. A tax preparer
  4. The average taxpayer


Practice Exercise: Expertise

Rank each of these three sources in each area of expertise. Use 1 for the source with the most expertise and 3 for the source with the least.

              Knowledge of movies:



                                 ___Times review


              Knowledge of you and your taste in movies:



                                ___Times review



Using the criteria to determine expertise, read the following choices and choose the source with the most expertise. Which one do you think has the least? Why?

What cell phone you should get:

  1. the cell-phone company
  2. your children
  3. the ad on television
  4. Consumer Reports magazine


What type of running shoes to buy:

  1. your father
  2. the shoe salesperson
  3. your coach
  4. Runner's World magazine


What to wear to the awards dinner:

  1. your best friend
  2. your boy/girlfriend
  3. an article in Cosmo magazine
  4. the clerk at Forever 21 store