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CHME 391 Chemical Engineering Principles Lab: Evaluating Information

This guide is a supplement to instruction provided in lab for the assignment on designing an experiment.

Evaluating Information on the Internet

While searching for videos on the Internet, it is important to evaluate them for their credibility.  In the boxes below, you will learn how to evaluate videos to discern whether something you locate on your own is something that is credible and may be used as a source for this assignment.


The CRAAP test will help you evaluate information you find on the Internet.  Ask yourself these questions to evaluate and determine the credibility of a site as a whole or particular information on a site.

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

  •      examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government),
                   .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

YouTube Specifics

There are a few clues right in YouTube that will help you perform an initial quick assessment of the credibility of a video.  It is still advisable to perform other tests but answering these questions first will help determine if you should move on to the other tests or move on to other videos.

How many views does it have (given the topic)?
What is the ratio of thumbs up vs. thumbs down on the video?
Does the creator/producer have a YouTube channel and the capability to subscribe? How many subscribers are there?
Does the video have a transcript or does it offer closed captions?
Are comments turned on?  If on, what are they saying?

Evaluating Videos

This page from Colorado State University Libraries does a great job pointing out everything to look for when specifically evaluating movies, videos, or film clips.

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