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ENGWR 301 (online) - Professor Valle (Spring 2020): Evaluating Sources

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?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • 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.

Going a Step Beyond CRAAP

The CRAAP Test is a great way to do some basic evaluation of a source. But often when you're evaluating a webpage, CRAAP is not enough because you can't find all the information you need on the page itself - you need to leave the page and do some additional research about the organization, the author, or the claims being made. 

Mike Caulfield's free ebook Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers suggest four ways to fact-check sources that go beyond the CRAAP test: 

  1. Check for previous work
    When researching a claim, see if a reputable fact-checking organization like Factcheck.org or Snopes has already de-bunked it
  2. Go upstream to find the source
    Does the article you're reading refer to a study, aPew research survey, an expert opinion, or some other outside source? Hop onto the library's OneSearch database or Google and see if you can find that original source!
  3. Read laterally
    See what others are writing and saying about the author, the organization, and/or the claim being made. 
  4. Circle back
    Stuck? Go back to the webpage you're trying to evaluate, take stock of what you know so far, and try a different approach.