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ENG 24/98B & ESL 21/22 Information Literacy Tutorial: Select


Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Information resources reflect their author's knowledge and experience on a topic. Authority is created through knowledge and/or experience, and depending on context, may come from a wide variety of sources. Expert researchers:

  • Recognize different types of experts (i.e. academic, professional, applied, local)
  • Use tools (like the CRAAP Test below) to determine credibility

Please visit the ARCL Frame "Authority is Constructed and Contextual" for more info

Scholarship as Conversation

Discourse between professionals, researchers, and scholars (including YOU) develop and sustain the growth and spread of information and knowledge. Expert researchers:

  • Cite the work of others
  • Contribute to scholarly conversation
  • Consider that a piece of information may not represent the only perspective on an issue

Please visit the ARCL Frame "Scholarship as Conversation" for more info

Selecting Websites and Evaluating Information

You will find more information on citations, choosing useful websites, and evaluating all types of information using the CRAAP Test below.


Why cite?

Avoid plagiarism and make information findable by noting author(s), titles, dates, and location of the information source.

When to cite?

In general, you must give credit by citing everything except your own original words, ideas, or research. This includes information from periodicals, books, videos, sound recordings, interviews, websites, blogs and social media posts, e-mails, images, etc. However, there is an exception...

Common Knowledge

Common knowledge includes any information that is widely accepted, understood, and shared by the majority of people in a community.  Many historical and scientific facts, basic observations of the natural and man-made world, and common beliefs and practices can be considered to be common knowledge, such as:

  • The sky is blue
  • Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States
  • Hawai'i is the 50th state 

For more information on how to cite and for examples, please see Leeward Library's Citing Sources LibGuide.


The URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, is the address for a website. Each URL ends with a three-letter code that is preceded by a "dot."  This is the domain name for the website. Some examples include:

.gov   Governmental entities

  • Used by U.S. federal, state, and local government agencies. These websites are typically good sources of information for scientific research, national and local statistics, demographic data, etc.  
  • Examples:  

.org    Non-Profit organizations

.com   Commercial entities

  • Intended for businesses. Any person or business entity can register a .com domain. Be aware of potential bias in favor of any products or services offered by the business. 
  • Examples:

.edu   Educational institutions

.net    Miscellaneous

  • This domain often functions as an alternate to .com, so treat these websites in the same manner as you sites.  Anyone can register a .net domain.  
  • Examples:  


Websites vary widely in the quality of information they provide. Unlike the reliably credible information provided by the library's resources, doing research on the web requires that you be extra vigilant about the sources you use. Use the following CRAAP Test to see if your sources are current, relevant, authoritative, accurate, and created for purpose to inform. 

Currency - The timeliness of the information

  • Has the information been revised or updated recently?  
    • If the site was last updated over a year ago it may indicate that it is no longer being actively maintained.  
  • Are many links non-functional?
    • Finding a single broken link is commonplace but many broken links indicate a lack of maintenance.

Relevance - The importance of the information for your needs

  • Is the information relevant to your research or assignment needs?
    • The information should be appropriate for a college-level course.
    • The language used should not be too difficult for you to understand.

Authority - The source of the information

  • Who is the author, publisher, or sponsor of the website?  
    • Look for an About or About Us page for answers to this question. 
  • What can you identify about their credentials and experiences that makes this a good source of information for your research?  
    • You should always learn more about the sources of your information.  

Accuracy - The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?
    • A single spelling error is no big deal, but many mistakes could be a cause for concern.
  • Where does the information come from and is it supported by evidence?
    • Determine if the information is based on personal experience, scientific research, gossip, etc.
    • Look for citations and links to other sites which will allow you to verify sources of information.  

Purpose - The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information and is this purpose clearly stated?
    • Identify why the website exists. This is usually found in the About Us page.  
    • Look for bias (personal, political, cultural, religious, etc.) in the information presented.  
    • Understand that some websites will intentionally misguide and misinform you.
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