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Evaluating Sources

Just because it's on the Internet doesn't mean it's correct, credible, or appropriate for your particular project or research goal.  As you research, you should always evaluate whether the source is right for your research goal and appropriate for use. 

There are many different models, tools, and strategies that are geared toward evaluating sources, but one of the most popular and easiest to remember is the CRAAP test1. Yes, CRAAP. 

You can use CRAAP to evaluate every source you access and intend to use in research. It seems like an extra step, but using the CRAAP test will help you save time later by making sure the sources you use are going to work for what you want to do.

So, before you use a source in your research process, be sure to CRAAP on it! 

Guiding Questions
Here are some guiding questions that will will help your students apply the CRAAP test to sources:

  • When was the information published/posted?
  • Has it been revised or updated?
  • Is it current or out-of-date for your topic?
  • If it's a website, are the links functional?
  • Does the info relate to your topic or help answer your question?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Is the info at an appropriate level?
  • Have you looked at and read a variety of sources before choosing this one?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor of the info?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, like a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    (.edu, .gov, .com, .org domains,  for example) 
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information ben reviewed? (example: scholarly journal article)
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source? (statistics, etc.)
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free from emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
  • Why did the author/organization/source publish this info?
  • Do the authors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
CRAAP Test Handouts/Checklists

Video Resource:
This video explains how to use the CRAAP test on a source.

YouTube Video

Other Resources:

1The CRAAP test was developed by librarians at California State University, Chico.

Stephanie Wallace,
Jul 9, 2015, 9:01 AM
Stephanie Wallace,
Jul 9, 2015, 8:58 AM
Stephanie Wallace,
Jul 9, 2015, 8:55 AM