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SW 402: Information Literacy for Social Work : Picking the Best Information

Introduce and reinforce the skills you'll need to be an information-savvy Social Worker and/or successfully complete the ILOP.

Picking the Best Information to Answer Your Question

Evaluating information is not an either/or decision.  Instead, the decision of whether or not to use a resource, or particular piece of information is up to you, dependent on what you need it for and how you're using it.

Use the variety of criteria on this page to pick the best information for your purpose, and note that different criteria are better suited to certain types of sources.

Hold websites to high standards using these...

Be critical of every web page and piece of information you find.  Use one of these checklists to make sure you've really looked closely at a website you're considering citing.

Catchy Acronym for Evaluation Criteria

Do you prefer an acronym to help you remember evaluation criteria?  In that case, just remember the CRAAP Test!  (Click here for a bit more of an explanation.) 

- Meriam Library

Start with These Straightforward Questions...

Get more critical by considering these...

Authority / Reliability / Credibility

  • The author is a well-known, well-respected expert in the field
  • The material has been peer-reviewed, which is a process of subjecting an author's scholarly work or ideas to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the field.  Articles from peer-reviewed journals have been reviewed by other scholars in the field before publication.
  • You have reason to trust that the information is accurate
  • The bibliography indicates that the author did sufficient research before writing this book or article
  • The information is up-to-date relative to other research in the field

Perspective/Objectivity/Purpose

  • The book or article addresses your research topic
  • The information is presented fairly, with all sides of the argument considered and given equal treatment
  • The information thoroughly and accurately covers the topic
  • It is not superficial information