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NWACC Library

CNA - Certified Nursing Assistant & PCA - Patient Care Assistant

A guide to support student research assignments in the CNA program.

Think About Source Evaluation

With so much information overwhelming us, it can be a challenge to recognize the credible and reliable. There are multiple frameworks available for evaluating information sources. Many of them have memorable acronyms like CRAAP or SIFT. While each takes its own approach and names its elements uniquely, all evaluation of information sources boils down to one key question.

Who is telling me what and why?


Some academic disciplines prefer or recommend one technique over the others. Each technique offers information users valuable criteria and guidelines to use when filtering through sources.

In classes, use the framework recommended or required by your instructor for best results.

In life, just keep asking yourself that one question: Who is telling me what and why?

Online Health Information: Is It Reliable?

Check out criteria and checklist provided by the National Institute on Aging (an agency of the National Institutes of Health).

Here's the TL;DR.

The NIA's Quick Checklist

  1. Is the sponsor/owner of the website a Federal agency, medical school, or large professional or nonprofit organization, or is it related to one of these?
  2. If not sponsored by a Federal agency, medical school, or large professional or nonprofit organization, is the website written by a healthcare professional or does it reference one of these trustworthy sources for its health information?
  3. Why was the site created? Is the mission or goal of the website sponsor clear?
  4. Can you see who works for the agency or organization and who authored the information? Is there a way to contact the sponsor of the website?
  5. When was the information written or webpage last updated?
  6. Is your privacy protected?
  7. Does the website offer unbelievable solutions to your health problem(s)? Are quick, miracle cures promised?

Use the 5 W's, SIFT & Lateral Reading