The CRAAP Test to Evaluate Information on the Web
(Adapted from the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico and the Michigan Library Association CRAAP Test Worksheet)
Use the following list to help you evaluate sources. Answer the questions as appropriate, and then rate each of the 5 parts from 1 to 10 (1 = poor, 10 = excellent). Add up the scores to give you an idea of whether you should you use the resource.
- Currency: the timeliness of the information
Check for a copyright date at the bottom of the page, or backtrack to the home page to search for a date.
- When was the information published or posted? Is it out of date for your topic?
- Has the information been revised or updated?
- Are the links on the site functional? (outdated links are a bad sign)
- 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? Was this created for students, academics or researchers (good), or for the general public (not good)?
- Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e., not too elementary
or advanced for you)?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources that seem consistent with this one (good), or is this your only source for this information (not good)?
- Authority: the source of the information
Look for the author or editor(s)’ name, as well as the publisher of the website, which is usually found at the bottom of the page by the copyright symbol ©.
- Can you find the author’s full name (good), or is there no author or editor listed (not good)?
- Is the author or editor an expert in the field you are researching? What are his/her credentials or organizational affiliations? (Try a Google Search of their name -- has s/he written other articles or books on the subject? Do they have advanced degrees in appropriate fields of study?)
- Is there contact information for the author or source (good)?
- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
- Academic (.edu) and government sites (.gov) are typically authoritative (but not always; make sure it’s not student work).
- Commercial (.com) sites are rarely authoritative for academic research.
- Nonprofit organizations (.org) are sometimes authoritative (e.g., PBS.org), but can also represent sites/organizations whose intent is inflammatory, biased or misleading (e.g., martinlutherking.org)
- Blogging sites (Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr) and social networking sites are typically not appropriate for academic research.
- Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Does the site provide their sources? Citations/bibliography? Links to their sources? (good)
- Has the information been reviewed or refereed? (articles in academic journals are reviewed by peer experts before being published)
- Can you verify any of the information in another source?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors? (not good)
- Purpose: The reason the information exists
- What is the purpose of the site? Is it to inform (good), teach (good), sell (not good), entertain (not good) for persuade (it depends on your topic; persuasive sites may be useful, but should not represent a majority of your sources)?
- 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? (not good)
- Beware of “content farms” like ask.com, yahoo answers, about.com etc.; They pay people to write short articles on topics that students often ask about; these people are rarely experts and rarely cite their sources! Their goal is to get students on the site to be exposed to advertisements.
SCORE: 45-50 Excellent, 40-44 Good, 35-39 Average,
30-34 Borderline Acceptable, Below 30 Unacceptable