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GEOL 2377: Physical Geography and Geomorphology

Arctic Ocean Bathymetric Features

Arctic Ocean bathymetric features

By Mikenorton (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Evaluating Websites

Have you ever used the CRAAP test?

If you are using a website for research--whether is it being used to get some background information, learn more about a topic, or being used in a paper (if your professor allows)--you want to find GOOD and RELIABLE websites.  You want to evaluate them for credibility and appropriateness.  There are a lot of websites out there that promote misinformation, are not fact-checked, or are just opinion pieces (to note a few examples of unreliable information).  You might read and consider an opinion piece in your personal life, but for the most part it will not be used in the academic sciences. 

Not sure how to evaluate websites to find good information?  Follow the CRAAP test!

The CRAAP test asks you to evaluate sources based on three criteria:

  • Currency--The timeliness of the information (how current is it?)
  • Relevance--The importance of the information for your needs
  • Authority--The source of the information
  • Accuracy--The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the information
  • Purpose--the reason the information exists

To learn more about how to use the CRAAP test, such as questions to ask yourself as you encounter websites, see this handout developed by librarians at California State University--Chico.


10 Reasons Why Geomorphology is Important (British Society for Geomorphology): This short booklet provides a great overview of geomorphology including key concepts.  A great tool for getting a feel for the basics of geomorphology. 

Internet Links for Geomorphologists (Geomorphology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers): A list of links related to geology and geomorphology.

Geomorphology from Space (Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Center): "Geomorphology from Space is an out of print 1986 NASA publication edited by Nicholas M. Short, Sr. and Robert W. Blair, Jr. designed for use by the remote sensing science and educational communities to study landforms and landscapes.  The core of this book is a gallery of space imagery consisting of 237 plates, each treating a geographic region where a particular landform is exemplifies.  Commentary, photographs, locator maps, and sometimes a geologic map accompany each plate."

Physical Geography (University of British Columbia Okanagan): " is an educational web portal that focuses on a specific area knowledge known as Physical Geography."  It provides a free e-book focused on physical geography and presented in an easily digestible way.  It also includes a glossary of terms related to physical geography.

The Physical Environment: An Introduction to Physical Geography (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point): A free ebook. "This is an interactive textbook on principles of The Physical Environment. The Physical Environment is one of the first, totally online physical geography learning environments. The Physical Environment combines text, images, audio and video programs to deliver the subject matter content. A multimedia online environment enables new and different ways to interact with textbook content."

Finding Reliable Web Resources

One way to find websites that are reliable (can be trusted to have true information) is to use Operators as well as other search tricks.  These operators allow you to tailor your search to retrieve better results.  The image below shows one of the most useful operators as well as another trick to help you search.  Other common operators can be found HERE.

In the image, there is an operator site: You can use this operator to tailor your search to particular types of sites such as educational institutions (edu), organizations (org), or government institutions (gov).  These are three most common types of sites you would find reliable information on. 

The other thing to note below is that the phrase medical terminology is written with quotes around it.  This tells Google that you only want results back that have the phrase medical terminology.  Without those quotes Google may retrieve websites that have the words medical and terminology but not as a phrase.  This allows you to find more relevant information.