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Research 101: Evaluating Information

A brief introduction to college-level research

Evaluate Your Sources: The "CRAAP" Test

Knowing how to find relevant, reliable, and accurate information can help you create better research assignments. These same skills will help you make informed decisions about real world questions such as buying a car, evaluating financial aid options or deciding which graduate school is best for you.
Use the criteria below to help you evaluate the information you find.

*Authority: The source of the information.
Who is the author?  Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
What makes this person knowledgeable on this topic?
What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?

*Purpose: The reason the information exists.
There should be no broad generalizations that are not supported by evidence.
The purpose, intent and audience should be clearly stated.
Are arguments supported by facts? Are other viewpoints recognized?

urrency: The timeliness of the information.
When was the information published?
Has the information been revised or updated?
Are the links functional?

*Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

Is the information supported by evidence?
Are sources documented with footnotes or bibliography?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
Can you find some of the same information given elsewhere?

*Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
Is there information in the source that is strongly related to your topic?
Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

Adapted from  Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.


Evaluating Sources for Credibility