Skip to main content

CJ 3135: Advanced CJ Research Methods: Web Resources

How to tell if it is CRAP

In 2008, Google stated that it had indexed over one trillion webpages (it's obviously only gotten bigger since then).

How big is a trillion, really? Well, if you placed a trillion $1 bills into a stack, the stack would be over 67,000 miles high. Now imagine there are a few $10,000 bills in that stack (the information you're trying to find), but in a stack that big they look a lot like the $1 bills. So - how do you tell which are the $1 bills and which are the $10,000 bills?

This handy acronym - CRAP - can help you determine whether what you find on the web is trustworthy or not:


  - Is there a date or copyright?
  - When was the last update?
  - How current are the links? Are any broken?


  - Is the information error-free? (Facts, grammar, spelling, etc.)
  - Can you tell if someone fact-checked the site?
  - Is there an editor? Are sources cited or linked?


  - Is there an author? What are their credentials?
  - What organization sponsors the content? Are they reputable?
  - Is there a link to more information about the author or organization?


  - Is there a bias or slant to the information presented?
  - Is the page designed to sway opinion? To sell a product?
  - Is there any advertising on the page? How much? What for?
  - Is the site aimed at a broad audience or a specific one?


These websites can help you evaluate the bias or "slant" of a particular new story:

Legal Overviews

While Wikipedia is a useful tool it is generally not acceptable to use a source in research papers.  Try these sources instead:

News Resourses

Find Government Information

 The U.S. government produces a wide variety of useful information published by federal departments and agencies:

Terrorism Resources

These sources are great for research about terrorism

White Collar Crimes