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Advanced Research: The CRAAP Test - Evaluating information

This guide is for MSJC students and advanced researchers and features topics such as strategic browsing, finding data and using research tips to make your research process better, faster and smarter.

Evaluating Information

When using databases for your search you are going to get a lot of information back but how do you know if is it good information?  Somehow you need to decide that, and the  CRAAP Test can help.

The CRAAP Test is a list of quick questions that can help you assess the information you get back in your search results.

The CRAAP Test

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

  1. When was the information published or posted?
  2. Has the information been revised or updated?
  3. Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  4. Are the links functional?

Relevance: 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 citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

  1. Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  2. What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  3. Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  4. Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  5. 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.

  1. Where does the information come from?
  2. Is the information supported by evidence?
  3. Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  4. Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  5. Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  6. Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

  1. What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  2. Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  3. Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  4. Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  5. Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico.