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Library Research Guides

Research Strategies: Evaluate Sources

Tips to Evaluate Sources

Source and Authority

  • Who wrote the information? 
  • Look for a biography or “about us” section. 
  • Does it include a bibliography or footnotes?  

Scope and Content

  • What is the scope/coverage of the information? 
  • Is it written for a popular audience or is it more technical and scholarly? 

Purpose and Relevance

  • Is it written to inform, explain, or persuade? 
  • Can you discover any bias to the perspective of the author? 
  • Does it relate well to information you found in other works? 

Timeliness and Accuracy

  • When was the information created or revised? 
  • Is it up-to-date and accurate? 

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

Web Page Evaluation

The Evaluating Information handout lists several steps to help you determine if an Internet source is reliable.

A UC Berkeley guide to evaluating webages offers several techniques and questions to help evaluate Internet information.

JHL Evaluating Information is a well detailed guide to help evaluate information found on the Internet. It even includes steps on how to evaluate information found through social media.