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Source Evaluation: CRAAP Test
This general research guide provides information on source evaluation and using the CRAAP Test to analyze print and online sources.
What is the CRAAP Test?
Due to the vast number of sources existing online, it can be difficult to tell whether some sources are trustworthy to use as tools for research. The CRAAP test contains a series of questions that helps students and educators determine if sources are trustworthy and appropriate for academic research. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. By employing the CRAAP test while evaluating sources, a researcher reduces the likelihood of using unreliable information. Please keep in mind that the following questions are not static nor exhaustive. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.
When was the information last revised or updated? (online this is often found in the footer area)
Is the published date appropriate in relation to your research topic? Are you doing current or historical research?
Is this the most current information available on your topic?
If reviewing a web source, are the links functional or are they broken?
The importance of the information in relation to your topic:
What is the depth of coverage? Does it cover all important context?
Is the information unique? Is it available elsewhere, or referencing another source?
Who is the intended audience? Is the information at the appropriate level for your research or does it target a different type of audience?
Is it scholarly or popular material?
Does it fulfill all your assignment requirements?
Consider the source of the content:
Who is the author, creator, or sponsor of the information?
What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
Is contact information available, such as an email address?
Is the source reputable? Does the author have a reputation? Google them!
Has the author published works in traditional formats, or only online?
If searching online, what does the domain name/URL reveal about the source? Websites that end with .com are commercial websites (usually selling something). Websites with .edu are educational. Websites with .gov are official government websites. Websites with .org are organizations, commonly used for schools and non-profits. Don't accept .org websites at face value, be sure to check out the "About" section since for-profit entities also use them.
The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content:
Where does the information come from? Are there sources listed? Did the author provide a references list or bibliography?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
Are the sources trustworthy and credible?
Can you verify the information from independent sources? Corroborate!
Are there spelling, grammar, factual, or other typographical errors?
The reason the information exists:
What is the purpose of the information? To Inform? Teach? Persuade? Sell? Entertain?
Does the language or tone seem biased?
Does the point of view appear objective, impartial, and considering multiple perspectives?
Is the information based on facts, opinion, or propaganda?
Does the site provide information or does it attempt to debunk other information? (Weighing positive evidence versus negative evidence)
Is the website free of advertising?
Does the organization appear to support or sponsor the page? Is there a conflict of interest?
Adapted from Blakeslee, Sarah (2004) "The CRAAP Test," LOEX Quarterly, 31(3).Available at: http://commons.emich.edu/loexquarterly/vol31/iss3/4
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