Evaluating Information—Applying the CRAAP Test
When you search for information on the Web you’re going to find lots of it…but is it accurate and reliable? Whether you are reading a book or looking at a website, be an information skeptic--scrutinize, analyze, and evaluate its quality. You be the judge. The following are suggestions to help you with your evaluation. Post any questions in the "comments" area below.
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• Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
Relevance: The ability to address your needs.
• How well does this suit your topic or answer your question?
• Who is the intended audience?
• Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
Authority: This is where trust, credibility, and reputation is important.
• 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 a way to contact the author?
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.
• Where does the information come from?
• Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
• Can you verify any of the information?
• Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
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?
Websites are often referred to as online/internet sources--not to be confused with online journals and databases--and are more questionable by nature. Check with your instructor if you are allowed to use internet sources.