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*SOCI 1101 Intro to Sociology (Turner): Finding Credible
Non-Scholarly Sources

Limiting Google searches by site type

Your typical .com sites may not be the way to go to ensure you find credible sources -- so try limiting your Googling by site type so you can hone in on organizational sites (.org) or government sites (.gov)


REMEMBER: You should evaluate the credibility of what anyone is saying, no matter who they are - see the CRAAP Test box below for guidance.

Evaluating Sources - the CRAAP Test

The open web (in other words, stuff you find by Googling) is home to a lot of great information and a lot of misinformation. When reviewing sites, consider their Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose/Objectivity. 

  • Currency: The timeliness of the information - how recent was the information collected, and if it's not very current, should you look for more current information?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. If the content isn't on target, it's not the right site for you.
  • Authority: The source of the information. Is it from a university or respected medical or historical authority? Or is it a Wikipedia article that some 12-year-old with no expertise in the area whatsoever might have written? (Hint: 12-year-old's info = not so good.)
  • Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content. Check for citations, and verify that information is accurate.
  • Purpose/Objectivity: The presence of bias or prejudice/the reason the information exists. Is the website host trying to sell or convince you of something? If so, avoid that site.

CLICK HERE to view a list of questions that cover each of these five areas.

The CRAAP test was developed by Meriam Library, California State University, Chico

Wikipedia - potential *Pathway* to Credible Sources

Because anyone can add or change content, there is an inherent lack of reliability and stability to Wikipedia.  Even the founder of Wikipedia has stressed that Wikipedia may not be suitable for academic uses, saying, "It is pretty good, but you have to be careful with it. It's good enough knowledge, depending on what your purpose is."

How might I use Wikipedia for this research assignment?

As a starting point to: 

(1) get some background and familiarize yourself with a topic, and also

(2) find the sources they cited - all Wikipedia articles end with References and/or Further Readings sections that point you to additional sources. These often include more authoritative sources like books and journal articles that you can find in the library or online. This can be a great way to start identifying sources for your paper. 

*Help on how to find articles listed in Wikipedia references.*

Use some Statistics to back up your Essay!

"statistics symbol bar chart" image - public domain from wpclipart.comTO CITE A STATISTICAL TABLE: Scroll to the bottom of the page that the statistical table is on, and you'll see citations in APA and MLA style.