COMM 101

CWI library staff won the Association of College and Research Library's 2019 Excellence in Academic Libraries award

To follow along, load this in your browser:

Created by Ryan P. Randall


I'm Ryan Randall, from the library!

I'm here to help you prepare for your next assignment. And the rest of your classes, to be honest.

What have you already done in the library?

  • Printing?
  • Used the textbooks on reserve?
  • Used one of our many computers?
  • Requested an article or book?
  • Used the online chat?
  • Used the anatomical models?

Have your kids used the children's section?

Image of NCMP library's children's section with children's books

Did you come dressed up for Halloween?

Have you used our Popular Fiction sections?

Popular Fiction book shelves

Here's some more library resources!

The Information Life Cycle

You know that sources aren't all the same.

So what makes sources different?

Hurricane Katrina: August 2005

Satellite imagery of Hurricane Katrina hitting the shore

What kinds of sources might discuss Hurricane Katrina?

Where do these sources go on our timeline?

By the way, SUNY Canton has a great chart on the different "Types of Information Sources".

History Doesn't Repeat, But It Echoes

Let's imagine you're researching a recent event.

  • What does the information timeline say about the kinds of sources you could find?
  • How could you use older sources to write about new events?

Let's watch UNLV's "Information Life Cycle" video!

Source Evaluation & the SIFT Moves

"Don't Hit Any Other Cars"

  • Well-meaning advice isn't always useful. — What's a better way to help drivers learn how to drive?
  • Make the SIFT moves as natural as "look over your shoulder before you change lanes!"

SIFT Moves Help You Get Context, Fast!

  • Stop! — Don't waste your time reading junk.
  • Investigate the Source — Try Wikipedia. Really!
  • Find better coverage — Are these "facts" also in the news sections of the NY Times, the Associated Press, the Guardian, CNN, or other reputable venues?
  • Trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original context — CWI Library can help you find original sources. So can Google Scholar!

Source Selection & the CRAAP Criteria

CRAAP test criteria

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

Blakeslee, S. (2004). The CRAAP test.

Not a "Test"—It's Guidelines

Captain Barbossa saying 'The code is more what you call guidelines than actual rules'

The CRAAP criteria help you choose where to place your time & trust. There is no simple litmus test.


man hanging from clocktower clock face

  • When was this source published?
  • The timeframe of some information is crucial.


multiple 'why?'s written on chalkboard

  • Why is this right for this assignment?
  • Are its approach and depth suitable for your purposes?


Carmen Sandiego

  • Who wrote this?
  • Do they have appropriate expertise on this subject?


Merida shooting a bullseye with an arrow

  • How does this source support its claims?
  • Can you check where the authors got their facts & examples?


File label that says 'purpose'

  • Why was this written?
  • Is the author trying to benefit personally from this?

CRAAP test criteria

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

Blakeslee, S. (2004). The CRAAP test.

COMM 101 Research Guide

Here's some great places to start!

CWI Library Databases

Even better than Google Scholar!

  • Focus on disciplines taught at CWI
  • Provides access to whole source
  • Authoritative

How did this go? Let me know at!

Keep in touch with the CWI Library

Please schedule an appointment with a CWI Librarian if you'd like further research assistance.

You can also get help from the College of Western Idaho Libraries through our online chat, our FAQ pages, calling or texting us, and email!

Thank you for your time!
"Pulling a book off the shelf" photo by Bennington College's Crossett Library with a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
Caulfield, Mike. SIFT (The Four Moves). Retrieved from SIFT (The Four Moves).
Blakeslee, S. (2004). The CRAAP test. LOEX Quarterly, 31(3), 6-7. Retrieved from
"Purpose" photo by Seth Sawyers with a CC BY 2.0 license and given some minimal filtering by Ryan.