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Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP Test
- The timeliness of the information:
- When was the information published or posted?
- Does the time period that the information was published matter in relation to your topic?
- When was the information last revised? (online often found in the footer area)
- If reviewing a web source, are the links current or are they broken?
Relevance or Coverage
- The importance of the information in relation to your topic:
- What is the depth of coverage? Is the information provided central to your topic or does the source just touch on your topic?
- Is the information unique?
- Who is the intended audience? Basically, is the information at the appropriate level for your research or does it target a different type of audience?
- Is better information available in another source?
- Consider the source:
- Can you tell who wrote it? If the author is not identified who is the sponsor, publisher, or organization behind the information?
- Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations listed?
- Is contact information available?
- Is the source reputable?
- The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content:
- Where does the information presented come from? Are the sources listed?
- Are the sources reputable?
- Can you verify the information in other sources or from your own knowledge? Corroborate!
- Does the language or tone seem free of bias or ideologically based arguments?
Purpose or Objectivity
- The reason the information exists:
- What is the purpose of the information? Inform? Teach? Sway opinion? Sell? Entertain?
- Can you determine possible bias? If you can are they clearly stated or do they become apparent through a close reading?
- Does the point of view appear objective?
- Does the site provide information or does it attempt to debunk other information? (Weighing positive evidence versus negative evidence)