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Criminal Justice: Evaluating Web Sources

Resource guide for sources in Criminal Justice

Finding and evaluating websites

To search the Internet usually you rely on search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) to locate the information you need. Once you find a website you want to use in your research, you must evaluate it.

Google the CRAAP Test for evaluating Internet sites and apply that to websites you plan to use.  Look at the currency, relevance, accuracy, authority and purpose of each site.

Look at the URL - is it a person's page? Notice if there is a name in the url. What type of domain codes is used, e.g. .gov, .mil, .edu or .org.

Check out the currency of the page - when was it last updated? And if there are links, do they all work?

Who wrote the page? If it's a person, what are the credentials? If an agency, are they taking responsibility for the content?

To delve a bit more, where did the author/publisher get the information from and is it accurately presented?

Are there links that talk about the creators of the page, e.g. "About us", "Hosted by", "Philosophy", etc.

The onus is on you to evaluate websites if you choose to use them in your research, so be sure you've reviewed them for currency, accuracy, authority, reliability, etc. When using the Library's databases this is not a requirement. In these databases, with the click of a button you can choose to retrieve scholarly, peer-reviewed articles from academic journals.

Evaluating Websites Tutorial