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Pollak Library

Psychology: Evaluating Sources

Subject Guide for Psychology

CRAAP Evaluation

balanced scale

Currency - Timeliness of 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  • Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?

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?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority - The source of the information for your needs

  • 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 email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

 Accuracy - The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the 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?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose - Reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Types of Periodicals: Journals, Magazines, and Trade Magazines



Few or no advertisements

Extensive advertising

Extensive advertising

Scholars and college students

General; broad-based

Working Professionals

Scholars & researchers

Staff and freelance writers

Professionals and staff

Articles: long bibliographies


Might have a short bibliography

Academic, research-oriented

Simple language

Professional terminology

Can be 6-40 pages

Varies; often short

Varies, often short
  • Few or no pictures
  • Text w/statistics
  • Few colors
  • Extensive pictures
  • Glossy
  • Colorful
  • Extensive pictures
  • Glossy
  • Colorful

University or professional

For-profit, commercial

Professional organizations
  • American Journal of Sociology
  • Social Problems
  • Crime and Delinquency
  • Journal of Sociology

Scholarly journals are expensive and available through academic libraries.scholarly journals

  • Time
  • Newsweek
  • Discover
  • Sports Illustrated
  • InStyle

Magazines are available in bookstores and stores.

popular publication

  • Corrections Today
  • Police Chief
  • Beverage World
  • American Libraries
  • Fast Food Times

Trade magazines come with membership in a professional publication

How to Read a Peer Reviewed Article

Check Your Sources

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