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Citing and Writing Help

Information on writing, searching, evaluating sources, scholarly vs. popular articles, and citing your sources in APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian style.

CRAAP Test

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.  

Key: An asterisk (*) indicates that criterion is for Web sources only

Currency: The timeliness of the information. 

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out of date for your topic?
  • 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 (i.e. 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 using this source for a research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com, .edu, .gov, .org, .net *

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational 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 biased or free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

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

Adapted from The CRAAP Test by Sarah Blakeslee at Chico State's Meriam Library.