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Nursing and Health Sciences Subject Guide

Learn about key library resources for studying health sciences

Evaluating Information

Once you have searched for books, journal articles and/or websites, it's important to evaluate these sources of information to make sure they fit your academic purposes. Always check that the information is evidence-based e.g. solid and reliable research, not opinion.

What websites can I use and not use for academic purposes?
Can use Don't use
Scottish Government NHS Inform
World Health Organisation Charity websites
Policies/Guidelines Social media feeds
RCN, NMC  look at language- if YOU, YOUR is used then aimed at patients not health professionals

Remember if you're not sure of the credibility, don't use it for academic purposes.


The CRAAP test


  • When was it published?
  • Is the information too old?
  • Does it have a date on it?
  • When was it last updated?
  • How important is it that you have up-to-date information?

Luckily, there are many tools to help you assess any piece of information which will help you avoid the common pitfalls e.g. the CRAAP test (designed by the Meriam Library California State University, Chico and used worldwide). Ask yourself the list of questions from the CRAAP test below. It can be applied to any resource, but most useful for evaluating websites.


  • Does it fit your assessment?
  • Will your assessment be stronger if you include this information?
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (e.g. too basic or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Does it seem credible?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?


  • Who has published or written the information?
  • Do you trust them?
  • Is it easy to find out anything about them?
  • Who was it written for?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? For example:
    • = Academic institutions in the UK
    • = Companies in the UK
    • .com = Commercial sites
    • .edu = Educational institutions
    • .gov = Government
    • = Health information services in the UK
    • .org = Non-profit organizations
    • = Scottish Government
    • .net = Network.


  • Is the information correct?
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Does it have references?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been peer reviewed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem objective and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
  • Why do you trust it?


  • Why does the information exist?
  • Who has this information been written for?
  • Is it trying to sell you something, persuade you or give you an opinion? 
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
  • For webpages, is advertising used?

Age of misinformation

We are in an age when we can't trust all the information that is available online or in popular media.


Who can you trust to provide information sources that you can use for academic studies?
Library and Learning Centre & Knowledge Network

We ensure that the resources we provide are all high quality, academic and evidence-based.

But it can be tricky working out what resources to use, in particular websites

Try these games to help you understand the difference between fact and fiction! 

Learn through Games
Bad News Fake Out

In Bad News, you take on the role of fake news-monger. Drop all pretence of ethics and choose a path that builds your persona as an unscrupulous media magnate. But keep an eye on your ‘followers’ and ‘credibility’ meters. Your task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site. But watch out: you lose if you tell obvious lies or disappoint your supporters!

Your social media feed has been infected by false information. Your job is to learn the skills of verification, so you can sort fact from fiction - in the game, and in real life