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FNDS 1303: Art/France - Art/Japan

The TRAAP Method

Is it a TRAAP?

TRAAP is a simple acronym that can be used as a tool for evaluating information and determining if you're heading toward a research trap. Each letter in TRAAP represents a criteria by which to measure the reliability and appropriateness of sources.

Timeliness: The currency of the information 

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has it been updated?
  • Do you need the most current, up-to-date information on your topic?

Relevance: The information meets your assignment needs 

  • Does the source meet your assignment requirements?
  • Does the information directly relate to your topic?
  • Does it help you answer questions?
  • Have you looked at other sources to find the best one?

Authority: The source of the information 

  • Who is the author or publisher?
  • Are they qualified to write about this area?

Accuracy: The reliability and correctness of the information 

  • Is the information supported by citations or other evidence?
  • Can you verify the information with another source?

Purpose: The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform, sell, persuade, or entertain?
  • Is the information given a fact or an opinion?
  • Is the author or publisher biased or unbiased?

Evaluating Websites

A lot of your sources will come from online sources. In particular, think about authority when analyzing a website for credibility. Good sources come from those with authority on the topic. People who are considered qualified to speak on the topic because they have the credentials and experience behind them.

Good Sources

  • Museum website (Provides lots of context about the source. Represents the knowledge of the curator who is an expert on various topics)

  • Research Libraries

  • Peer Reviewed Journal Articles from Library Databases

  • University Sites 

  • Exhibits are fine

Bad Sources

  • Galleries

    • They have a motive. They want to sell you something!

  • Someone that’s just interested in the topic like a blogger. But doesn't have any actual credentials.

Good Starting Places

University of Michigan - Dearborn Logo
  • 4901 Evergreen Road
    Dearborn, MI 48128, USA
  • Phone: 313-593-5000
  • Contact us