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ENGWR 300 (online) - Professor Pries (Fall 2023): Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Sources

The information on this page can be used to help you learn how to evaluate sources so you can incorporate credible sources into your research, so start by completing the following tasks on this page:

  1. Read the CRAAP Test Quick Gude
  2. Watch the C.R.A.P Test in Action videos

CRAAP Test Plus

Currency: The timeliness of the information.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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? 


  • 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

Here's how the C.R.A.P test differs from the CRAAP test; both can be used as a guide to help you evaluate your sources:

C = currency; R = reliability; A = authority; P = purpose/point of view

Watch the videos below to see how the C.R.A.P can be used to evaluate different types of sources.

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

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.

Evaluating Media Sources


Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts (Free online course)

  • Sign up to complete this free online course to learn skills that will help you distinguish credible news sources from fake news as well as information that includes alternative facts.  The entire course will take about 3-4 hours to complete, and you can complete it at your own pace.

Fake News, Facts, Alternative Facts: Evaluating Your Media Diet (Exercise)

  • Consider using this resource to evaluate your media consumption (the stories you see, hear, or click, and where you found them).


Material on this page is used with permission from MichiganX -Teachout: Fake News, Facts, Alternative Facts