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Evaluating Research Materials
When you search for information you will find LOTS!!
You need to be able to evaluate and select the best material for use in your research and writing - both print sources and the information you find on the Internet.
The CRAAP Test was developed by the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico to help you evaluate the information you find. It is a list of questions that help you determine if the sources you found are accurate and reliable. Keep in mind that this list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.
The CRAAP Test
Currency relates to the timeliness of the resources
- When was the information published or posted?
- Has the information been revised or updated?
- Is it important to have current information, or will older sources work as well?
- Are all the links working?
Relevance relates to the importance of the information to you
- Does the information relate to your research or answer your question?
- Is the information at an appropriate level, i.e., not too simple or too advanced for your needs?
- Have you looked at a range of of sources to be able to judge that this sources is relevant?
- Are you comfortable citing this as a reputable source for your research paper?
Authority relates to the source of the information
- Who is the author/publisher/source/?
- What are the author's/organisation's credentials?
- Is the source trustworthy or qualified to write on the subject?
- Is there contact information and is it easy find out more about the author/organisation?
- If it is a website, what does the URL (.com .ac .gov .org .net) say about the source?
Accuracy relates to the reliability of the resource
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information supported by correct evidence?
- Can you verify any of the information in another reliable source?
- Does the language or tone seem balanced, unbiased and free from errors?
Purpose relates to the reason the information exists
- What is the purpose of the information? (i.e. inform, argue, teach, sell, entertain, persuade)?
- Is the purpose clear and the point of view impartial or are there biases?
- Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
How to Evaluate Resources