Evaluating Sources is as Easy as ABCD (Author, Bias, Content, and Date):
Use the ABCD criteria questions to evaluate your sources.
Evaluating Information: Is it CRAAP (Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose)?
The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Not all criteria apply equally to all articles but will give you confidence that your sources meet the expectations of your assignment. Feel free to save/print this for personal use.
When Evaluating Sources, it Helps to Have a CCOW (Credentials, Claims, Objectives, and Worldview):
If you want to know if a piece of information is good, investigating these four elements can be very helpful. This guide briefly walks you through each CCOW element, and ends with an exercise to put it all into practice.
|Academic Sources||Non-Academic Sources|
You are analyzing the historical context of the Salem Witch Trials. You find this article on the JSTOR Daily website.
Is this an academic source?
You are analyzing the historical context of the Salem Witch Trials. You find this article on the History Channel website.
Is this an academic source?
|Primary Sources||Secondary Sources|
|Defined as: Original evidence/research or first hand accounts documenting an event during the time that event took place. Are often produced later by eyewitnesses or participants||Defined as: Sources that interpret and analyze primary sources. Are written by scholars or observers who are at least one step removed from what they are describing, analyzing, and/or interpreting.|
|Used as: Material that gets you as close as possible to the event or topic you are researching; you often have to analyze this material yourself.||Used as: Material that reports on the content of a primary source when you are unable to find or retrieve the original source of information on a topic.|
|Standard examples: autobiographies, diaries, memoirs, letters, speeches, newspapers, laws, court documents, interviews, original research/data, etc.||Standard examples: textbooks, encyclopedias, essays, reviews, magazine or journal articles which analyze events or ideas, books which provide a summary of events or synthesize information from many primary sources, etc.|
The concept of what makes a source "primary" in academic research depends on the research question at hand.
Your research is analyzing the historical context of the Salem Witch Trials and you are looking for primary sources relating to this topic. You have found a source on the database, Gale Primary Sources, titled The Historical Letters on the First Charter of Massachusetts Government written by Abel Cushing in 1839. As a resident of the state himself, Cushing's book focuses on the history of the Massachusetts government and he has written a very detailed section about the Salem Witch Trials. Would you consider this a primary source for your research?
When it comes to locating primary sources, you may have to leave OneSearch and the CWU Libraries website and go to other archival organizations or government websites to find primary sources since many of them have been digitized and put into online collections. Remember to utilize your evaluation materials for credibility when exploring online sources!
What is OneSearch?
OneSearch is a single search interface that allows patrons to simultaneously search several article databases, catalogs, and other data sources for books, journal articles, videos, scores, maps, and more! This catalog is shared by members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance (Summit), a consortium of 37 academic libraries across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. OneSearch contains 8.8 million titles and over 26 million resources.
What can it do?
OneSearch offers our users major advantages, such as:
How to use OneSearch
Watch the videos below to learn how to conduct searches in OneSearch or learn all there is to know about how to conduct effective searches in CWU's OneSearch Research Guide. If you would like further research assistance, you are also welcomed to schedule an appointment or drop in to meet with a reference librarian. On the left side of this page you'll find the contact information for your Law & Justice liaison librarian, Bridgette, though you are welcome to work with any librarian you prefer.
For most of the twentieth century, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was the principal defender of the rights that citizens can assert against their government. Its primary aims have been the defense of the freedoms of speech and press, the separation of church and state, the free exercise of religion, due process of law, equal protection of the law, and the privacy rights of all citizens. This important collection of papers spans the majority of the twentieth century, from 1912 to 1990. Scholars and students in twentieth-century American social history and politics will find this archive of special interest because of its focus on civil rights, civil liberties, race, gender, and issues relating to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This collection documents American History from the earliest settlers to the mid-twentieth century. It includes over 60,000 primary source documents split across two modules, including correspondence, diaries, government documents, business records, books, pamphlets, newspapers, broadsides, photographs, artwork and maps. Module 1 Settlement, Commerce, Revolution and Reform: 1493-1859 and Module 2 Civil War, Reconstruction and the Modern Era: 1860-1945.
Primary sources from African Americans actively involved in the movement to end slavery in the United States between 1830 and 1865. The content includes letters, speeches, editorials, articles, sermons, and essays from libraries and archives in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States.
This collection makes available all 1,450 volumes of the CO 5 series from The National Archives, UK, covering the period 1606 to 1822. CO 5 consists of the original correspondence between the British government and the governments of the American colonies, making it a uniquely rich resource for all historians of the period. **Stellingwerf gift purchase
CQ Researcher is often the first source that librarians recommend when researchers are seeking original, comprehensive reporting and analysis on issues in the news. Founded in 1923 as Editorial Research Reports, CQ Researcher is noted for its award-winning in-depth, unbiased coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy.
Gale Primary Sources searches within all of the Gale primary document collections to which CWU has access, including the Archives of Sexuality & Gender, Indigenous Peoples of North America, and American Civil Liberties Union Papers.
Provides full-text access to an extensive collection of modern and historical legal periodicals and monographs including documents on international and foreign jurisdiction, U.S. treaties, U.S Supreme Court, U.S. Attorney General, and more. The format is image-based, presenting the exact page image and complete contents of the original materials.
These research guides provide a starting point for researching legal topics and recommend relevant materials in the Law Library's collections and online. The Law Library creates research guides that range from animal and landlord-tenant law to instructions for compiling a federal legislative history. Established by Congress in 1832, the Law Library has a collection of over 2.9 million volumes spanning all systems and periods of law and covering all the nations of the world. Please note that although research guides are selective, inclusion of a site or resource does not constitute endorsement by the Law Library of Congress.
Legal Collection contains full text for more than 250 of the world's most respected, scholarly law journals. Legal Collection is an authoritative source for information on current issues, studies, thoughts and trends of the legal world.
Nexis Uni™ features more than 15,000 news, business and legal sources from LexisNexis—including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790—with an intuitive interface that offers quick discovery across all content types, personalization features such as Alerts and saved searches and a collaborative workspace with shared folders and annotated documents.
Access to historical newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more! Be sure to select the "More" dropdown menu above the search bar and select "Historical Newspapers".
Provides access to millions of primary source, cross-searchable, full-text/full-image documents on the most widely studied topics in 19th and 20th-century American history. The vast majority of the content in History Vault is not available elsewhere. The content in History Vault is perfect for researchers in history, African American studies, women’s studies, political science, social sciences, sociology, and international studies.
The NAACP Papers collection consists of 6 modules which contain internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country. The documents range from 1909- 1972. The NAACP Papers document the realities of segregation in the early 20th century to the triumphs of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and beyond.