Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Evaluating Sources

This guide will assist you in evaluating sources for their currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose. It also has information on how to distinguish a scholarly source from non-scholarly sources.

Evaluating Sources Using the CRAAP Test

Currency

The timeliness or recency of the information
  1. When was the information published or posted?
  2. Has the information been revised or updated?
  3. Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
  4. Are the links functional?   

Relevancy

The importance of the information for your needs
  1. Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  2. Who is the intended audience?
  3. Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  4. Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  5. Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
  6. Does the source meet your professor's qualifications (if applicable)?

Authority

The source of the information
  1. Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  2. Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  3. What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  4. Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  5. Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    • .com - commercial site
    • .edu - educational site
    • .gov - U.S. government site
    • .org - nonprofit organization
    • .net - network
    •  country codes - two-letter international standard abbreviation such as ".de" for Germany or ".uk" for the United Kingdom

Accuracy

The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
  1. Where does the information come from? (look at citations/references)
  2. Is the information supported by evidence?
  3. Has the information been peer reviewed?
  4. Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  5. Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose

The reason the information exists
  1. What is the purpose of the information? To inform? Teach? Sell? Entertain? Persuade?
  2. Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  3. Is the information fact? Opinion? Propaganda?
  4. Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  5. Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Source: Meriam Library at California State University, Chico. (2010, September 17). Evaluating information-Applying the CRAAP test. Retrieved from http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf

Evaluating Sources for Social Justice

Visit Simmons University Library's guide on Evaluating Sources to learn about the ACT UP method for evaluating resources, as well as ways to push against privilege when performing research.