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Evaluating Sources


One approach to evaluating your sources is to use the C.R.A.A.P. test, a set of questions to ask yourself about the resources you are using:

C= Currency

R= Relevance

A= Authority

A= Accuracy

P= Purpose

Currency: The Timeliness of the Information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information or will older information work as well? How quickly are new ideas brought into your field? Is it important to have a historical perspective?

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? Is it too difficult or simple to understand? 
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The Source of the Information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials, or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic? Why?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?

Accuracy: The Reliability, Truthfulness and Correctness of the Content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Does the information contain citations?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The Reason the Information Exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?