C - currency
R - relevance
A - authority
A - accuracy
P - purpose
Each of the boxes on this page will tell you how to apply a question to your research.
DO THIS: find a date.Consider
DO THIS: go back and read your assignment. Answer the following questions:
Who is/are the authors? Are they qualified to write on this topic? Are they associated with any institution that makes them more or less credible on this topic?
DO THIS: Do a quick search for an author's bio or cv (= academic resume). You can also check to see whether the author has written any other papers or books on the same topic.
Make sure websites provide you with the name of the actual author (not just the webmaster).
Can't tell who the author is? You should never use information that you can't verify in an academic paper.
DO THIS: find a description of the publisher of your book or article, or find their website. What types of things do they publish, and who is their audience?
OK to use: art history book by Yale University Press.
Why? University publishers produce academic-quality books that have been written by experts in the field, and have been fact-checked before they are published.
Questionable: book on Susan B. Anthony by Scholastic Publishing.
Why? Scholastic is actually a publisher that produces books for K-12 schools. The information in the book will be accurate, but for a college paper you can find a book that's more at your level.
Questionable: book on the Civil War published by Author House.
Why? Author House is a website that helps people self-publish: anyone can write a book and publish via Author House. No fact-checking, no guarantee of subject expertise.
The Filter Bubble: TedTalk by Eli Pariser
The Colbert Report: Wikiality
1. check for sources. Do the authors use citations, do they provide references and/or a bibliography?
2. check a few facts from the information against a reliable encyclopedia. Good encyclopedias are Credo Reference, Oxford Reference Online, or the encyclopedias found in the library's first-floor reference section.
DO THIS: use your information about the author and publisher to determine whether they may have a bias about your topic.
If they do, you will have to make this clear in your paper when you use any information from their writing. Consider: