Articles from websites, newspapers, magazines, trade journals, or blog posts can all be good sources if carefully evaluated. To evaluate non-scholarly sources, you can use the CRAAP test:
- When was the information published or posted?
- Has the information been revised or updated?
- Is the information up to date or have there been any major changes affecting the topic since the content was published?
- Are there broken links?
- Does the publication answer your questions or provide information relevant to your topic?
- Who is the intended audience — General readers? Experts? Professionals in a particular field?
- Is the information at an appropriate level?
- Have you looked at multiple sources?
- Is there an author listed? Be wary of content published with no author credits.
- What are the author’s qualifications — do they have any advance degrees in the field or sponsoring institutions?
- Where does the information come from?
- Is it supported by evidence?
- Does the author provide a reference list or links to original research or primary source documents?
- Do they name their sources?
- Can you verify the information using other sources?
- Why was this information published or posted?
- Is the purpose of the publication educational, commercial or political?
- Look out for sensationalist or alarmist titles or claims.
- Does the author present multiple sides of an issue in a neutral tone, or is there a particular viewpoint?
- If published by an organization, is it non-profit or for-profit? Are they selling something? Do they have a particular agenda such as a think-tank or Political Action Committee?