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FNDS/PBL 104: People and Technology

Evaluate Your Sources with the TRAAP Method

It's 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?
  • If it's a website, what does the URL say about the source, i.e. .com .edu .gov .org?

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?
  • Is the author or publisher biased or unbiased? 

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?

Identifying Different Source Types

What is a preprint?

A preprint is a research manuscript that has not yet been peer reviewed. Preprints are often deposited into preprint servers or online repositories where they are free for all to access, and may be updated or revised on these sites as well. Preprints are different from postprints (also called accepted or author manuscripts) and final/published versions of journal articles. When looking at a preprint, it is important to be aware that the details of the research found within it are subject to change after the manuscript is peer reviewed.



Because AI is a quickly evolving topic, research may be shared as a pre-print. Be aware when using pre-prints that might be shared on repositories, like arXive, that you should be cautious and see if you can find other information that seems to support the findings. 

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