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RELIGIOUS STUDIES: Christianity (Larsen): Evaluate Sources

The CRAAP Test

Evaluating information: applying the CRAAP Test

When you search for information you’re going to find lots of it, but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions you can ask in order to determine if the information you have is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list of questions is not static or complete; different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

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• Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?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 affliations given?
• What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
• Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
* Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    examples:  .com  .edu  .gov  .org  .net  (pertains to Websites only)

Accuracy:  The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.

• 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?
• Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
• Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Does this source fit my assignment?

Information Need Sources to Consult Search Tools & Help
Overview of Topic
  • Encyclopedias
  • Handbooks
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo (Limit by Resource Type: Reference Entry)
  • Dictionaries
  • Handbooks
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo (Limit by Resource Type: Reference Entry)
Primary Sources (first hand or contemporary accounts)
  • Books
  • Digital archives
  • Magazines & newspapers
  • Videos
Secondary Sources (comprehensive and/or detailed analyses)
  • Journal articles
  • Books
  • Some magazines & newspapers
  • Dictionaries
  • Almanacs
  • Statistical Handbooks
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo
Current Events, Popular Culture
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Video
Historical Information
  • Books
  • Digital archives
  • Magazines & newspapers
  • Film
Evaluative Sources
  • Book reviews
  • Film/video reviews
  • Ask a librarian
  • Search Primo
  • Use How Do I? search