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USNA 288A - Facts from Fictions

Created for course taught by Prof. Malcah Effron in Spring 2015 & 2016


Reminder: Online Access

  • Library resources require going through CWRU Single Sign-On.
  • The best method is to follow links from the library website.
  • When logged in and a browser window is not closed, access should continue from resource to resource.
  • Remember to close your browser when done.

Research Databases FTW!

Using the CRAAP Test to evaluate your information sources is always a good idea. However, there is a much greater need to apply the CRAAP Test when searching for sources on the open web vs. when you are searching within a research database. This is because research databases are curated collections of sources, representing the work and thought that the curators put into the construction of these databases. Therefore, at least upon initial searches, a reputable research database can act as a proxy for the validation of its sources' authority, accuracy, and (informative) purpose.

When searching in a research database...



You will still need to determine if a source is "current" enough (with respect to your needs)



You will still need to determine if a source is relevant to your research, but controlled vocabulary is a big help


A source will be much more likely to have a credible author/publisher, and this information will be easier to find


A source is much more likely to contain reliable and true information, thanks to peer review and/or greater accountability


A source is virtually guaranteed to be informative (rather than, say, persuasive), due to inclusion criteria

Exercise: Part 2

After learning how to use faceted searching and controlled vocabulary, try your search again using a research database (e.g. Academic Search Complete) and fill out the second page of this form. You should notice some differences in the experience, as summarized below.

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