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ENGL& 101: English Composition I, with Ann Modzelewski: Evaluate Your Sources

Using the CRAAP Test

An essential part of using resources when writing an essay is to evaluate each source.  You want to make sure you are using information that is from a credible source, is accurate and relevant to your topic.  A useful tool for evaluating information is to apply the elements of the CRAAP test.  You do not need to answer all of the questions but use the CRAAP test as a guide to help you look critically at your source.

Currency:  The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information or will older sources work as well?

Relevancy:  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)?

Authority:  The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • 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.

  • 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?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists

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