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Tools for Evaluating Internet Sources

The links below will take you to the CRAAP test, a source evaluation checklist developed by the CalState Chico Library.

Does your source pass the SMELL test? Take a look at this tutorial from PBS!


I Read It...It Must be True

Credible Sources

Use the Library's databases to save time and effort by searching through sources that have already been vetted for credibility. You will retrieve fewer but for more reliable sources than you would through Google. In addition to academic journals,  subscription databases include newspapers, magazines, trade journals and other sources which may be credible but are not neccessarily scholarly. Check with your professor about which sources you're allowed to use before you begin your research.

Internet Sources


Who wrote the content?  What is the author's expertise? What makes the author qualified to write about the topic?  If no author is listed, who is responsible for the content? Is it a reputable organization? Look for credentials, such as academic degrees or ogranizational affiliations.  Look for contact information for the author, such as an email address or phone number. Be suspicious if contact information is absent.

Check the URL for clues about the author. If it ends in .edu, the author is affiliated with an academic institution. A tilde (~) in the URL indicates a personal website.  Look up the URL in for more information about the content provider.


Where did the author find the facts? Is the information cited? Are you able to verify the information? Watch out for opinion stated as fact. Check links the author provided to verify the credibilitly of that source. Apply the same evaluation criteria to the linked sources.  Numerous spelling and grammatical errors are a sign the site is not credible.


Is the information biased? Is the author promoting a particular point of view? Is the language impartial or does it favor one side or another?


What is the purpose of the page or site? Is it to educate and inform? Or to persuade the reader to adopt a point of view? Is there a political or social or religious agenda to the site? Or does the site exist to sell a product?


How often is the material updated? Look for "Last updated". Be wary of sites that are no longer being maintained. 


It is often a good sign if a large number of sites link to the site you're viewing. In Google, type "link:" followed by the url to see the other sites that link to your site. Ex:

Also, verify the links in your Internet source function are working and link to other reliable resources.