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Evaluating Information--Applying the CRAAP Test

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it...but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to determine if the information you have is reliable. Please keep in mind that the following list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So, what are you waiting for? Is your web site credible and useful, or is it a bunch of ...?!

Key: * indicates criteria for Web only.

Evaluation Criteria

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Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
Are the links functional? *

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 (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining that this is the one you will use?
Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: The source of the information

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?
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, .edu, .gov, .org, .net*

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content

Where does the information come from?
Is the information supported by evidence?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
Can you verify any of the information in another source or from your own personal knowledge?
Does the language or tone seem biased and free from emotion?
Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

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?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Prepared by Kristin Johnson, CalState University, Chico 02/02--Used by Eli M. Oboler Library with permission


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