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Putting Faith to Work (IN/PE709): Evaluating Information

This topic provides instruction in preparing an Annotated Bibliography.

What is evaluation and why is it important? The CARP test.

There is so much information in the world today that it is very important to evaluate it, whether it comes from a book, a journal, or the internet. 

Your lecturers won't be happy if you use lots of sources, but they are poor in quality.. 

So how do we determine the quality of our sources? 

Here is the CARP test. (Sometimes this is called the 'CRAP' test.)


1. Currency

  • When was the material written?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?

2. Reliability

  • Is the source reputable? While you wouldn't use Wikipedia as a source, maybe you can track the information you find there to something more reputable.
  • Is content the author's opinion or have they offered evidence? Is it balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations? Do those references pass the CARP test? 

3. Authority

  • Who is the creator or author?
  • Are their qualifications and affiliations relevant to the subject area? Most articles in scholarly journals should provide a short author profile. 
  • Are there any experts in the field that you should look up? Is your lecturer published? It could be worth looking at any articles or books they have written.

 4. Purpose / Point of view

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased?
  • Is the creator / author trying to tell you something? 

(Source: CSU Division of Library Services. "INF406 Research Skills Guide: Topic 3: Evaluating Information." Last modified October 17, 2016. )

Note: If you would like to look at some more detailed information relating to critical questioning and the CARP test, click on the link below. 

A song to help you remember the CARP test

The Critical Thinking Cheatsheet

Want to exercise critical thinking skills? Ask these questions whenever you discuss or discover new information, (Produced by the Global Digital Citizen Foundation.)

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