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Media Communications & Journalism at Webster University Library

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating sources... are they CRAAP?

How can you tell if the information you find is trustworthy? Sometimes information can be unreliable, especially when dealing with online sources. If you're not sure about a source, just ask yourself, is it CRAAP?

The CRAAP Test is a list of questions that can help you more effectively evaluate information:

Currency - the timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information first published?
  • For websites, when was the page last updated?
  • Does this topic require up-to-date information (like medicine and science)?

Relevance - the usefulness of the information to your needs.

  • Does the information answer your research question?
  • Is the information at the right level (not too basic or too advanced)? 
  • Have you considered other possible sources before selecting this one?

Authority - the source of the information.

  • What are the author's credentials/qualifications?
  • Is there an organization sponsoring the research?
  • Does the author provide any contact information?

Accuracy - the reliability and truthfulness of the information.

  • Does the author provide evidence to support his or her claims?
  • Has the information been reviewed by an editor?
  • Is the language and tone neutral and unbiased?

Purpose - the reason the information exists in this format.

  • Is the information meant to inform, entertain, or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their purpose/intention clear?
  • Are there political, cultural, religious, or personal biases?

The CRAAP test was developed by staff at Meriam Library, California State University, Chico