How can you know if information is appropriate for your research? Consider the source and apply the "CRAAP test" for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose:
Questions to Consider ...
- When was the information published or last updated?
- Have newer articles been published on your topic?
- Are links or references to other sources up to date?
- Is your topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology or popular culture?
- Does the information answer your research question?
- Does the information meet the stated requirements of the assignment?
- Is the information too technical or too simplified for you to use?
- Does the source add something new to your knowledge of the topic?
- What are the author's credentials?
- Is the author affiliated with an educational institution or prominent organization?
- Can you find information about the author from reference sources or the Internet?
- Do other books or authors cite the author?
- Are there statements you know to be false?
- Are there errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar?
- Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts before it was published?
- What citations or references support the author's claims?
- What do other people have to say about the topic?
- Is the author's purpose to sell, persuade, entertain, or inform?
- Is there an obvious bias or prejudice?
- Are alternative points of view presented?
- Does the author omit important facts or data that might disprove the claim?
- Does the author use strong or emotional language?
Students may also use the Five Ws as a device to evaluate information for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.
CRAAP acronym used courtesy of Meriam Library, California State University Chico and questions courtesy of University of Wyoming's Tutorial for Information Power (TIP).