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Library Research Guides

ENGWR 300/94 - Professor Porter (Spring 2020): Evaluating Sources

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Read the CRAAP Test Quick Guide, then watch the C.R.A.P. Test in Action videos.  The information on this page is critical for helping you learn how to find credible sources, so strive to make sure you have a firm understanding of the content before you move on.  In order to find credible sources, it's imperative that you use your critical thinking skills and the terms from the C.R.A.A.P Test to evaluate the sources you discover before using them in your research.

CRAAP Test Plus

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

clock

  • 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?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

puzzle piece

  • 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 the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

People

  • 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?
  • 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.

target

  • 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?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

Money

  • 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?

+Plus: How is the information impacted by the dominant culture? 

infinity

  • Who benefits from the story that is being told?
  • Whose voices, concerns, and experiences are included? Whose are excluded?
  • What assumptions are made? What unexamined beliefs does the author appear to have? What is the author unconscious/unaware of? 
  • What power dynamics are at work?

Original CRAAP Test created by Chico State Librarians. Plus questions inspired by the work of Angela Pashia.

Watch the C.R.A.P Test in Action: Articles & Websites

NOTE: If you'd like to see the websites discussed in this video to review their qualities for yourself, click on the links below.  They are arranged by order or appearance.

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

Most of your college writing and research assignments will require you to use academic or scholarly sources instead of popular sources you may be used to. 

Academic Sources:

  • Are written by an expert on the subject
  • Are written for scholars and researchers
  • Use language specific to the field
  • Include a list of references 
  • Contain verifiable facts

Popular Sources:

  • Are often written by a journalist or writer, not an expert
  • Are written for a general audience
  • Use everyday language
  • May not include references 
  • May rely more on opinions vs. facts