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GEH1049 Public Health in Action

Are Your Sources Credible and Useful?

Watch the following NUS Libraries' video on Evaluating Information Using the CRAAP Test.

The CRAAP Test

craap test1The CRAAP Test is a popular tool used in evaluating information sources. Originally developed by Meriam Library, California State University at Chico, the CRAAP Test consists of a list of questions that help you determine if the sources you found are accurate and reliable.  Keep in mind that the list of questions is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your individual situation or need.

Click on the above sub tabs for more on evaluating scholarly information based on Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose. 

Key: * indicates criteria is for Web sources.

Currency: The timeliness of the information

Having current information is usually recommended. Currency can be more important in some fields (like science and medicine) than in other fields (like humanities). Checking for currency is generally important because it ensures that you are not using information that has been supplanted with newer, better ideas and research. 

Consider the following questions:
  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information or will older sources also work?
  • Are the links functional?

currency

Credits: Content used on this page was adapted from:  Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test. The CRAAP Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee of the Meriam Library, California State University at Chico.

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs

All of the sources you use in your assignment should be relevant to your topic. While you may not find the perfect source that exactly captures all of your ideas, the sources you use should be related in some way.

Consider the following questions:
  • 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?

relevance

Credits: Content used on this page was adapted from:  Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test. The CRAAP Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee of the Meriam Library, California State University at Chico.

Authority: The source of the information

Authority provides us with the information that someone with expertise or experience in the topic is sharing their knowledge. The expertise or experience needs to be relevant to the topic.

Consider the following questions:

  • Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications/expertise 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 of domain include .com .edu .gov .org .net*. 
    For more on URLs and internet domains, visit Savvy Info Consumers: Internet Domains; Reading the URL.

authority

Credits: Content used on this page was adapted from:  Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test. The CRAAP Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee of the Meriam Library, California State University at Chico.

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

Determining the accuracy of a source ensures that you are using information that is supported and free from errors.

Consider the following questions: 

  • 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 and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

accuracy

Credits: Content used on this page was adapted from:  Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test. The CRAAP Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee of the Meriam Library, California State University at Chico.

Purpose: The reason the information exists

Sources may be written to entertain, inform, persuade, or some other purpose. Understanding the purpose helps us to see if there are any biases or underlying motives that may affect the way the information is presented.  

Consider the following questions:

  • 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? Propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

purpose

Credits: Content used on this page was adapted from:  Evaluating Information - Applying the CRAAP Test. The CRAAP Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee of the Meriam Library, California State University at Chico.