How to Do Effective Research

How to Do Effective Research

( – Conducting research is a relatively simple task, particularly if you follow a system known as CRAAP. Developed by a group of California State University librarians, it provides a framework for filtering out unreliable sources of information.

Initially designed for librarians and scholars, the system is simple, easy to use, and everyone conducting research can benefit from its design.


The first thing you want to do is check the date of publication of any article, research report, or other sources of information you find. If you cannot find a date for the publication itself, see if you can find any reference to a specific date within its body. Also, look for recent updates. Some sources are routinely updated to keep information current.


Is the source of information an authority on the subject? Is it an official website for a research institute, one associated with a known authority like the American Medical Association or an academic institution like Princeton or Stanford? Often, you can use the standards for reviewing the accuracy of a source to help determine its authority and vice versa.


Consider the source of information. Is it someone you trust or a noted institution?. For example, known educational institutions, like Harvard University, are a good source of information when researching. Likewise, government websites and websites for periodicals like The Smithsonian are excellent. Also, check to see if you can verify the data using multiple trustworthy references.


Consider the reason for the information’s availability. Is it to inform readers or to entertain them? Is it satirical or serious? Remember, some serious publications like The New Yorker include satirical pieces like the Borowitz Report. Similarly, respected news organizations like The New York Times and The Atlantic have opinion pieces — and while everyone is entitled to their opinions, they aren’t always based in fact.

Determining the accuracy of information resources can be a simple and straightforward process using the CRAAP method. Additionally, it never hurts to take your time to consider a source and use a little common sense. As they say, a little common sense can take you a long way!

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