Evaluating sources of information is essential when conducting research for any project. When considering an online source there are certain questions that need to be asked. The TRAAP Method is a very helpful way to remember the criteria.
Timeliness - Pay close attention to publication, research, and data collection dates. Sometimes articles are published long after the data and research was collected. The statistics could be outdated or even your field of study might have changed since the article was published.
Relevance - An article may not have the information you need even though it contains your topic. It might have been written for a different audience as well.
Accuracy - If statements seem to be questionable, look for the original source if possible. Even if only one fact is incorrect, chances are there are more and you should consider using a different site.
Authority - Be skeptical when it is unclear who the author is of an article. Look for the About link within a website to access more information about the author, publisher, or producer.
Purpose - Use caution when a website utilizes persuasive language in their wording to sway the reader to a particular view. Sometimes product links are provided for purchasing items - it is best to avoid sites like this.
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