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AR 259: American Art Since 1900: Evaluate Sources

"What is contemporary American Art?" The assignment explores the major themes covered throughout the semester through in depth analysis of an art work from the Colby College Museum.

EVALUATING SOURCES: The CRAAP Test

CRAAP: An easy-to-remember shortcut for:currency, relevance, accuracy, authority, purpose.

Video courtesy of the University of Rhode Island Libraries.

Many websites also have an overview page, called "About This Site," or a Site Map. A Site Index can help you find specific information quickly. Look at the domain letters at the end of the URL to identify the type of site.

  • .edu educational sites
  • .gov government sites
  • .mil military
  • .com business
  • .net network access companies
  • .org non-profit organizations
  • .int international organization

GENERAL EVALUATIVE CRITERIA

How to identify valuable sources for your research? Evaluate each source for...

Accuracy

  • Can you verify the information presented using other sources like encyclopedia articles, government documents, statistical data, or primary sources?
  • Are there typos or other errors?
  • Are other researchers citing this source?

Audience

  • Who is the intended audience (scholars, the general population, a specific group) ?
  • How do your research needs compare with those of the intended audience?

Authority

  • Who is responsible for the presentation of this information? (publisher, funding agency, etc.)
  • What are the author's credentials? (education, institutional affiliation, previous research, honors, etc.)
  • If a journal article, is the journal peer reviewed?
  • Is the publication from a reliable publisher? What is the domain?

Bibliography

  • What sources did the author use in preparing this presentation?
  • What is the scope of the research presented?

Bias

  • Does the author offer evidence, in the form of primary and secondary sources, to support his/her assertions?
  • Is the information over-simplified and emotionally charged or logically investigated?
  • What is the author's intent? To inform, persuade, sell, entertain?

Currency

  • How is this source positioned within the current conversation surrounding your topic?
  • How does this source build upon previous schlolarship?

Depth

  • How deeply does the author explore the subject matter?
  • Does the author meet the goals defined in the abstract or introduction?

Relevance

  • What will this particular source add to your research?
  • How does this source work with the other resources you will be using?

WHAT ARE SCHOLARLY JOURNALS

What are scholarly journals? 

Scholarly journals are publications which report original research to other academics within a specific discipline. Articles which appear in scholarly journals are typically, but not always, subject to peer review prior to publication.

What is peer review?

Peer review is the process by which, prior to publication, research articles are evaluated by a group of experts in the field (peers)

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