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Evaluating Information and Avoiding Fake News

The C.R.A.P. Test Method

One of the most commonly used evaluation methods is the C.R.A.P. Test. This popular guide to evaluating information was created by the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico. The C.R.A.A.P. Test is based on the following criteria: Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View.

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Key: ♦ Indicates criteria is for Web Evaluation Criteria

Currency: The timeliness of the information.
BulletWhen was the information published or posted?
BulletHas the information been revised or updated?
BulletDoes your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
   ♦  Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
BulletDoes the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
BulletWho is the intended audience?
BulletIs the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
BulletHave you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
BulletWould you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.
BulletWho is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
BulletWhat are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
BulletIs the author qualified to write on the topic?
BulletIs there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
   ♦  Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
BulletWhere does the information come from?
BulletIs the information supported by evidence?
BulletHas the information been reviewed or refereed?
BulletCan you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
BulletDoes the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
BulletAre there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.
BulletWhat is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
BulletDo the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
BulletIs the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
BulletDoes the point of view appear objective and impartial?
BulletAre there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Source: Meriam Library, California State University, Chico.

C.R.A.A.P. Tutorial

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