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Waidner-Spahr Library

From Babble to Babel - Duperron FYS: Using Non-Traditional Sources

Non-Traditional Resources

A non-traditional resource is anything outside of resources you might typically use in a research setting.  This could include anything from blogs to interviews to speeches to statistics.  Below you will find information on using and evaluating these resources.

The CRAAP Method

The CRAAP method is a handy guide to help you decide if you've found a worthy source or if it's... garbage. :) 

Evaluating Non-Traditional Resources

When evaluating non-traditional resources such as blogs or articles on popular websites, you will want to ask yourself the same questions used in the CRAAP method.  However, there are a few additional things to keep in mind:

–Don’t be fooled by a professional-looking site!  A slick webpage design does not necessarily mean that the content is of good quality.

–What other content is on the site?  Does this seem to be a site devoted to providing information or news?
–Is there any way of contacting the author of your source?  (email address, social media, etc.)
–Are there spelling errors or typos?  Excessive errors could indicate poor quality.  Are charts, stats, etc clearly labeled with the original source?
–How much advertising is on the page?   Are the advertisements separate from the content?  Remember, many web pages try to sell products under the guise of providing information!

From Non-Traditional to Scholarly Sources

You will be looking for contextual scholarly information for your final project, and non-traditional resources can help you find it!  While evaluating a non-traditional resource, take note of:

  • People 
  • Periods of time
  • Theories
  • Studies
  • Geographic areas

You can use anything you notice to search JumpStart or the library databases for scholarly information related to your topic.  This can help you provide important context for your final project.  Remember to think of synonyms to search with as well!