One popular way to evaluate a source is to apply the CRAAP Test. This is a series of questions you can ask about your source. There are no right or wrong answers to the individual questions or the test as a whole. Instead, you can use the questions as guides to help you evaluate your source.
- When was the item written, and how frequently does the publication it is in come out?
- Is there evidence of newly added or updated information in the item?
- If the information is dated, is it still suitable for your topic?
- How frequently does information change about your topic?
- Read the article's introduction, thesis and conclusion. Scan main headings and identify article keywords.
- Does the item contain information relevant to your argument or thesis?
- For book resources, start with the index or table of contents -- how wide a scope does the item have? Will you use part or all of this resource?
- Does the information presented support or refute your ideas?
- If the information refutes your ideas, how will this change your argument?
- Does the material provide you with current information?
- What is the material's intended audience?
- Are there details about the author?
- What is the author's level of education, experience, and/or occupation?
- What qualifies the author to write about this topic?
- What affiliations does the author have? Could these affiliations affect their position?
- What organization or body published the information? Is it authoritative?
- Does it have an explicit position or bias?
- Is the source well-documented? Does it include footnotes, citations or a bibliography?
- Is information in the source presented as fact, opinion or propaganda? Are biases clear?
- Can you verify information from referenced information in the source?
- Is the information written clearly and free of typographical and grammatical mistakes?
- Does the source look to be edited before publication? A clean, well-presented paper does not always indicate accuracy, but usually at least means more eyes have been on the information.
- Is the author's purpose to inform, sell, persuade, or entertain?
- Does the source have an obvious bias or prejudice?
- Is the article presented from multiple points of view?
- Does the author omit important facts or data that might disprove their argument?
- Is the author's language informal, joking, emotional, or impassioned?
- Is the information clearly supported by evidence?
- Modified from The Information Literacy User's Guide, pp. 73-76.