How can you tell if the information you find is good information? Use the CRAAP test. It's a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.
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?
- If your source is a website, do all the links work? If not, the page may be out-of-date.
The importance of the information for your needs.
- Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the information too basic, or too advanced for your needs?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
- Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
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?
- If your source is a website, does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
(examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)
The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
- Where does the information come from? Does the author cite their sources?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source (not from a similar website, as some information is duplicated over and over on the web) or from personal knowledge?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
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?
CRAAP test adapted from California State University, Chico.
See link in next section.