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History Department Research Module: Evaluating Materials: Home


What is my assignment?


·      Do I understand what I am supposed to do? Do I need to clarify anything with my instructor?


·      When is it due? How will I plan my time to allow me to do this assignment well?




What kind of information do I need? (Can be more than one at the same time)


·      Persuasive: Goal of convincing a point of view; someone’s point of view


·      Informative: Provides facts and educates on a topic


·      Primary source: Original source for a historical event (letters, diaries, etc.)


·      Secondary source: Written after a historical event to interpret past events


·      Academic/Scholarly/ Peer-reviewed source: Written by an expert in the field to teach people about a topic


·      Popular: Written by anyone (maybe an expert, maybe not) to be persuasive, informative, or entertaining


·      Statistics: Informative numbers, usually about a population



What is the “container” for the information that I need?

Note: Links will take you to corresponding resources


·      Dissertation or thesis: Written by graduate students to contribute new information to their field. For most of your undergraduate work, you will not need dissertations


·      Articles: shorter works (usually ranging from 15-50 pages) with a narrow focus


·      Newspapers: short columns/essays about current events 


·      Books: A longer work with a broader focus or a collection of articles or essays


·      Online databases: Collections of articles available to students and faculty via Murphy Library (you can access on or off campus)


·      Websites (not on the Murphy Library page): could be anything!



Is this information right for me at this time?


  • ·      Does it make sense for this assignment?


  • ·      Is the information true?


  • ·      Can I trust the person/source of this information?








Evaluation of Quality

The CRAAP test (courtesy of California State University Chico) is one way of deciding if information is of the quality needed for a college assignment. Please note that this checklist method is not perfect and that not every question is appropriate for every source. If you have questions about a source that you find, please see a librarian or your professor. 

Download a PDF file of the CRAAP test.