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GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS: Evaluate Information

The CRAAP Test: Evaluating Your Sources

The CRAAP Test -- Whether reading a book, article, or website, be an information skeptic--scrutinize, analyze, and evaluate your sources.

Currency:
• 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• Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?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:
• How well does this suit your topic or answer your questions? 
• Who is the intended audience?
• Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
 
Authority:
• 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
• 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
• Is the purpose to inform, sell, entertain, or persuade?
• Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions clear?
• Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?

GIS Data Considerations

With GIS data, in addition to CRAAP Test evaluations, consider the following criteria. 

Practical considerations

  • How usable is the data format? 
  • Can you accurately reference the data spatially?
  • Are the necessary data attributes included?
  • Is the data's time frame relevant?
  • Is the data at an appropriate scale?

Responsible use of data

  • Do you have the right to use this information in your project?
  • How complete is the metadata?
  • How will you address errors and uncertainty in your data?
  • What concerns do you have related to the collection and processing of this data?
  • How might your answers impact your research?
  • How might your answers affect what you communicate about your research?