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SOC 211

Where are Information Sources?

Iceberg showing most information on the internet is in the deep web e.g. not available through GoogleAre you finding all the information that is available? 

It is important to evaluate the sources used for academic papers and important to know where to access information. If you limit yourself to Google searching, you will miss a lot of information that is not available on the open web. Library databases offer access to articles and journals that are not found with a Google search. They're also reviewed by information professionals, helping establish credibility. 

The deep web, the dark web, and simple things. August 1, 2017.

CRAAP Criteria for Evaluating Information

CRAAP infographicIs your information CRAAP?

  • Current - When was the resource written and last updated? If your source is a website, is it maintained? Is the information current enough for your topic? Does it matter if the source is current for your topic?
  • Relevant - Does the information fit your needs? Does the information add or support your topic? Is the material at the right reading level, not too easy and not too complex?
  • Authority - Who is the source of the information? Is the author listed? Are they an expert in the field? What is their educational background? What organization sponsors the website? Is the website sponsored by the government or university?
  • Accurate - Is the information reliable, truthful, and correct? Are references listed? Can you verify the information using other sources?
  • Purpose - Why does the information exist? Is it factual information? Is it trying to sell you something or persuade? Not sure? Get help at Delta College Library.

If you're not sure if a web source is credible, Delta Librarians can help!

Common Source Types

Source Type Audience Description
Social Media Popular Very current and updated frequently. Information may be incomplete, false, or biased.
News Popular

Very current and updated frequently. May be presented on TV, radio, print, websites, blogs, or social media. Varies widely in coverage and quality. Credible sources will update and verify information, add context, and develop the story as details emerge. May contain opinion and analysis, which should be clearly marked. Should be dated for verification of credibility.

Websites Popular Can be very current and updated frequently or out-of-date and even abandoned. Always check the date to verify credibility. Some information presented is only on the web, but sites can also be another source type like a newspaper or magazine site. Sites vary widely in topic coverage and quality, from highly reliable government information to satire news sites meant for entertainment.
Magazines Popular Updated less frequently than news sources but provide current information. Available in print, library databases, and on the web. Great variety in topic coverage including news, hobbies, health and beauty, home and garden, history, science, politics, technology and more. Articles range widely in content and quality, from short pieces meant for entertainment to longer, serious articles useful for academic research.
Journals Scholarly Not as current as magazines. Available in print, library databases, and on the web through Google Scholar and Open Access Journal websites. Written by experts and scholars for others in the same field. Report on original research, are narrow in focus, and contain very reliable information. Because journal articles are based on original research and are so thoroughly checked for accuracy, they are not as current as popular sources.
Books or eBooks Popular or Scholarly Take longer to publish, but give the most in-depth coverage of a topic. Available from library databases as print or eBooks, and on the web through Google Books. Can be written by non-experts for a popular audience and published by a popular press or by experts for a scholarly audience and published by a scholarly or university press. Because books take longer to research and write, they take longer to publish. Books will be available on most established topics but not the most current.
Reference Works, Statistics, and Government Reports Popular

Take the longest to produce. Most often available in library databases and on the web. Reference works gather information that is well established and accepted as fact, as in encyclopedia articles. Can also be compiled statistics and data, mostly from government sources. Library references are considered more reliable than web-based references like Wikipedia, but government reports available on the web are highly reliable.

Local Sources Popular What if you need to know the number of pounds of waste recycled in Saginaw per year or need to find out how to set the aperture on your camera? Sometimes the best source is an expert in your community. Your local waste management department or photography club could probably help you find that information.