The CRAAP Test* is a useful guide to evaluating information found online or elsewhere. CRAAP is an acronym for the general categories of criteria that can be used to evaluate information.
Currency: The timeliness of the information.
- When was the information published or posted?
- Has the information been revised or updated?
- Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?
- Are the links functional?
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
- Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
- Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
Authority: The source of the information.
- Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
- Are the author’s credentials or organizational affliations given?
- What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
- Is 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 informational content.
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
- Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
- What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
- Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
- Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
- Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
- Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
*The CRAAP acronym and descriptions are from Meriam Library at California State University Chico.
CRAAP Test from the Meriam Library website.