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Child, Youth, and Family Studies Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) Degree Program: Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Information - The CRAAP test

An essential part of the research process is looking critically at each source you find to ensure you are using information that is from a credible source, is accurate and relevant to your research topic.  A good way to approach evaluating information is to use the CRAAP Test:

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?

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating websites can be more challenging than books or articles.  With no editorial or review process on the web, it is all the more crucial to evaluate the information you find to ensure it is credible, reliable and accurate.  For help, watch the short video from Portland Community College Library and check out the online tutorials below. 

Portland Community College Library, Source: YouTube

Online Tutorials