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Research Guides

Journalism: Savvy Info Consumer: Evaluating Information

This guide supports students in COM 360, COM 361, and anyone trying to locate information available through the Deep/Invisible Web.

Savvy info consumers evaluate sources before citing, posting, or tweeting them...

Not all information is created equal.  Remember:  Anyone with Internet access can publish on the Web.  There is no editor, fact checker, or peer review process for the "free" content that is available on the visible web.  

 As scholars and information consumers, you must choose the best and most reliable information that meets your research needs.  This guide provides three strategies for being a Savvy Information Consumer:

Ask the
5 W Questions

Screenshot of the homepage of the Genetic Literacy Project.

Perform the
SMART Check

Frontpage of The Washington Post with the headline: Grahams to sell The Post.

Perform the
CRAAP Test

Green-colored cover of the Food, Culture, & Society, an International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research


Reliability Rating

How do your sources rate on the Reliability scale?  

A scale from Least to Most Reliable with a white arrow pointing towards the green section for Most Reliable.

This scale provides a general assessment on the reliability of a source type. 

RED: Be wary, these sources run the gamut from news-sponsored material to complete fabrications, use one of the evaluation tools to check the credibility of the source.

YELLOW: Be critical, these sources generally follow professional ethical standards but will vary on the partisan continuum.

GREEN: Be thoughtful, these sources undergo a fairly stringent editorial and peer-review process but quality can vary.

Questions or Comments about this guide?  Contact Jessica Albano, UW Cinema, Communication, Media Studies & News Librarian, or Theresa Mudrock, UW History Librarian.