In the research process, it is important to evaluate whether a source or the information is reliable or not. When evaluating resources, you need to analyze information from a critical perspective. You can use the CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose), which is commonly used in resource evaluation, to help you decide whether a source is credible and appropriate for your research paper.
Currency refers to when a source or the information is published. The collection of current information is usually recommended in some fields such as science, medicine and technology unless you are locating sources related to historical overview.
  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does currency matter for your research topic?
  • Are all the links workable?
  • Does the source use recent information?
Relevance refers to how important the source is for your information needs. You need to use sources relevant to your topic and select those that can provide useful information for your research paper.
  • How does the information relate to your topic or answer your questions?
  • Who is the intended audience? The general public, students, researchers or industries?
  • Is the information appropriate for academic research?
  • Is the level of information too general or too advanced?
Authority refers to who the author is. You need to look for the authors’ credentials and find out if they have the expertise or experience in the field to share their knowledge that is relevant to the topic.
  • Who is the author or publisher, or is responsible for the source?
  • What are the authors' credentials and/or affiliations with a respected university or university press or scholarly associations?
  • Is the publication reputable? Any contact information can be found, e.g. a publisher or email address?
  • Is it an appropriate URL?  e.g.

.gov (government)  .edu (educational)  .org (nonprofit organization)  vs 
.com (commercial)  .net (network)
Accuracy refers to where the source of the information comes from. You need to verify the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
  • Is the source or information supported by evidence?
  • Do the authors outline the methods and data used in their analysis?
  • Has the source been reviewed or referred by professionals in the subject field or by authoritative organizations?
  • Does the source contain incorrect information?
  • Are there spelling, grammatical or typographical errors?
  • Does this source refer to any other sources that discuss the topic?
Purpose refers to why a source or the information exists. You need to understand the purposes of the information. Is it to inform? teach? sell? entertain? or persuade?
  • What is the purpose for sharing the information?
  • Do the authors or sponsors make their intentions or purposes clear?
  • Is the information a fact or an opinion or a combination of both?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial? Is the information balanced, or is it biased?
  1. The CRAAP Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee of Meriam Library of the California State University, Chico.
  2. The basic questions should be asked of ALL information sources, e.g. books, e-books, journal articles, videos, sound recordings and web resources… etc.
Try out the CRAAP test to critically evaluate your sources. If you need help with keyword searching or other library resources, please approach the Information Counter, email us or call 3653-6620 / 3702-4338 for assistance.
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