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Evaluating a Source

I'm about to drop some serious knowledge on you that may make your head explode:

Google does not always provide you with reliable results, websites, and information.


When looking for information online, one of the first places most of us go is to Google is a great resource for finding information on the Internet; type in a few words, hit search, and up pops pages upon pages of results. But, it does not always give the best information!

Whenever you use information, you need to evaluate it. The CAARP method will help you do this.


C   Currency

  • Not money related!
  • When was the information published? When was it updated?
  • Are links up to date?  Are references to other sources current?
  • Have newer articles on your topic been published?
  • Does your topic require very current information (for example, technology medicine, popular culture)?


A   Authority

  • What are the author’s credentials or qualifications?
  • Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or a prominent organization?
  • Can you find information about the author from reference sources or the Internet?
  • Do other books or authors cite the author?


  Purpose (Bias)

  • What is the purpose or motive for the source (educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional, etc.)?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the author pretending to be objective, but really trying to persuade, promote or sell something?
  • Does the source seem biased?


A   Accuracy

  • Is the information accurate (true)? Is there false information?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors?
  • Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?
  • Are there other citations or references that support the author’s claims?
  • What do other people have to say about the topic?



  • Does the information answer your research question?
  • Does the information meet your assignment's requirements?
  • Is the information too technical? Is it too simplified?
  • Does it add something new to your knowledge?

Awesome Tip!

For web pages, you'll also want to pay attention to the domain, found at the end of the URL. Domains can provide some information on the provider, as well as the purpose.

Organizational domains (.org) usually exist to present their point of view, or to persuade you. Examples of .org domains: NRA, Right to Life.

Commercial domains (.com) exist to provide a service or a product. Examples include websites like and

Other domains: .edu, .mil, .net, .gov.


If the website smells a little fishy, apply the CAARP method to determine if it is the right resource for you.


Ms. Cidney Mayes | Memorial Middle School | 120 Wescott Road | South Portland, Maine | 04106 | Tel: 207-773-5629