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There are various criteria or questions you can apply when evaluating sources, but the "CRAAP Test" is an easy-to-remember
Evaluating Resources Using the "CRAAP Test"
Questions to Ask
When was the source written and published?
Remember that while recent information is often considered more useful, sometimes older sources can be more comprehensive or authoritative.
Has the information been updated recently?
Look for a "Last Updated" note at the bottom of the page (website) or check the copyright page for the date of publication (book).
Is currency pertinent to your research?
Does the source cover your research topic comprehensively or only cover one aspect?
To what extent does the source answer your research question?
Is the terminology and language used easy to understand?
Does the source meet the requirements of your research assignment?
Who is the author (person, company, or organization)? Who else cites or refers to this source or author?
Does the source provide any information that leads you to believe the author is credible or an expert on the topic?
Look for an "About" (website), a byline (article), or entry on a "List of contributors" (book or journal).
What are the credentials or reputations of the author, publisher, and/or sponsoring organization?
Ask a librarian or professor familiar with the subject.
Check the library catalog, research databases, or the free Web to see what else the author or organization has published.
Consider the audience, and check to see if the source is scholarly and/or peer-reviewed. (See our guide to
Finding Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Articles). Can you describe the author's background (experience, education, knowledge)?
Does the author provide citations? Do you think they are reputable?
Can facts or statistics be verified through another source?
Based on your knowledge, does the information seem accurate?
Verify information by checking other sources.
Does it provide enough information?
Is the information or source of a high quality? Is it appropriate for an academic research project?
What is the purpose or motive for the source (educational, commercial, entertainment, promotional, etc.)?
Check the web domain (.edu, .com, .org, .gov).
Check the "About Us" or "Mission" links (website).
Who is the intended audience?
Is the author pretending to be objective, but really trying to persuade, promote or sell something?
Is there bias or slant to how the information is presented?
Check with a professor, librarian, or even search the web to see what others say about potential bias.
Consider whether the bias or viewpoint affects the usefulness of the information for your project. (In some cases, a biased source may be ok, if you acknowledge or present that bias in your writing.)