Whether you’re writing a research paper, purchasing a product, or casting your vote, it is up to you to carefully evaluate information sources. One helpful evaluation tool is the CRAAP test, developed by Sarah Blakeslee at CSU Chico, and revised with her permission. The letters in CRAAP stand for five evaluation criteria explored in the tabs above. See below for printer friendly version.
A word of caution: There is potential for error, distortion, and bias in any source. Respected experts disagree with their peers, new discoveries call once-established “facts” into question, and widely-accepted theories are later proven false. It can be both useful and necessary to engage with sources that do not pass the CRAAP test, especially if you critically evaluate the source and address its limitations. So keep an open mind, acknowledge uncertainty, practice skepticism, stay informed about new developments, and seek understanding of multiple perspectives related to the subjects and ideas that matter to you.
CURRENCY: Consider the timeliness of the information you encounter, when it was published or produced.
RELEVANCE: Think about how well the source fits your needs.
AUTHORITY: Question the source of the information. In other words, who wrote, produced, funded or published it?
ACCURACY: Assess how reliable the information is.
PURPOSE: Determine why the information is presented.