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Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP Method

What is the CRAAP test?

CRAAP is an acronym that stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.  The CRAAP Test is a checklist method to evaluate the quality of your sources. Below is a description of each aspect of the CRAAP test and the types of questions to ask yourself when looking at a resource whether print or online.

Currency: Looks at the timeliness of the information

Ask yourself:

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of-date for my topic?
  • Does it matter to my research when the information was written? 
  • Are the links functional?   

Relevance: Looks at the importance of the information for your research needs

Ask yourself:

  • Does the information relate to my topic or answer my question?
  • Who is the intended audience? (Consumer? Academic?) 
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for my needs)?
  • Have I looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one I will use?
  • Would I be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: Looks at the source of the information

Ask yourself:

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations that are given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    •  examples:
      • .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government)
      • .org (nonprofit organization), or
      • .net (network)

Accuracy: Looks at the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

Ask yourself:

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can I 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: Looks at the reason the information exists

Ask yourself:

  • 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?