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Evaluating Sources  

Last Updated: Mar 4, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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The CRAAP Test

What makes a source credible and high quality?

When evaluating a source to use in your research, use the CRAAP test:

  • Currency
    • When was the information published, updated, and/or revised?
    • Is the information still current for the topic?
  • Relevance (intended audience):
    • How much information is presented (superficial or detailed)?
    • Is the information related and relevant to your topic?
    • Is the readership level appropriate (not too simple or sophisticated)?
  • Authority:
    • Who is the author and publisher/sponsor? 
    • What are their credentials? Check credentials in an "About" page or search for information about the author and publisher/sponsor.
    • Has the information been reviewed by editors or experts?
  • Accuracy (verifiability)
    • Does the source match your understanding of the topic?
    • Can you verify the claims in other sources?
    • Is there a Bibliography/Works Cited list or sources mentioned within the text? If so, are their sources of high quality?
  • Purpose (objectivity):
    • Is the purpose stated?
    • Is the topic approached from an objective standpoint (fact)?
    • If subjective (opinion), is there any author's bias (special-interest point of view) and how might it influence the information presented?
    • Were other views presented?

Looking at all of your sources together:

  • Variety: Do you have a variety of source types (Database - Reference, Database - Magazine/Newspaper, Website, Digital Media, etc.)? Having a variety of sources helps to provide multiple perspectives and a range in scope of a topic.
  • Quantity: Do you have enough articles to thoroughly understand your topic, addressing any specified subtopics or research questions? Avoid overreliance on any one source.

Using quality sources and citing them in a research project strenghtens your credibility.


*Borrowed from Downers Grove North Library. CRAAP originally developed by librarians at CSU Chico.


    Video - Evaluating Sources


    How to Know if a Source is Reliable


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