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Fullerton College Library

ENGL 100/101/103/201 Rosen

Using the CRAAP Test to evaluate sources

When you are selecting information to include in a college-level essay, it is important to evaluate your sources carefully. Using the CRAAP Test, based on a test developed at the Meriam Library at Cal State Chico, will make this process easier. Ask yourself these questions BEFORE you decide to use a 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?
  •     If you are examining a website or online source, 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 (for example, 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 citing this source in your research paper?

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?
  •     Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  •     If you are examining a website or online source, 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?
  •     Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  •     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?