With resources like Google at our fingertips, information isn't hard to find. What is challenging is determining whether that information is credible and can be trusted. Is it factual? Biased? Relevant to your topic?
A Google search is often our first stop to gain a basic understanding of the main ideas of a topic, but since anyone with access to a computer can publish anything online, it is crucial that you evaluate the information you find, especially when completing a research paper, or looking for important information (like health or financial information).
Web sources can be particularly hard to evaluate, so here is a handy acronym to help you determine if a source may be CRAP.
CURRENCY: How recently was this information published/posted? Can you find a publication date?
RELIABILITY: Is the information supported by evidence? Can it be confirmed by other sources?
AUTHORITY: Who wrote the information - are they an expert or knowledgeable in their field? (i.e. For health information, did a doctor or nurse write it? For science information, did a scientist or researcher write it?)
PURPOSE / POINT OF VIEW: Why was it written? To sell something? To sway opinion? Is it biased toward a particular point of view?
CDC collaborates to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.
The Environmental Protection Agency, with a mission to protect people and the environment from significant health risks, sponsors and conducts research and develops and enforces environmental regulations.
The Library of Congress provides Congress with objective research to inform the legislative process, administers the national copyright system, and manages the largest collection of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in the world.
Science.gov is a gateway to government science information and research results. Currently in its fifth generation, Science.gov provides a search of over 60 scientific databases and 200 million pages of science information with just one query, and is a gateway to over 2200 scientific Websites