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How to Evaluate Information Sources: CRAAP Test

Viewers will learn which criteria to use to evaluate resources

Evaluation of Information Sources: Critical Questions 

Determine if and why the author is qualified to write about the subject. 

Explore the credentials and/or other writing of the author to see if s/he is an expert on the subject. 

Identify and explain at least three reasons why this source is good.

What editing or review processes were used by the publisher that helped ensure the accuracy and quality of this source.

Apply the CRAAP Test

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?  Can they be verified?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Follow the money.  Who stands to gain from this?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
  • What clues does the format give to the purpose, audience, quality?

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico. See link on left.

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