Evaluating Information

The CRAAP Test

When evaluating a source, there are several things you need to consider. There are many easy ways to remember what these are, one of which is the CRAAP Test (California State University-Chico, 2010). The acronym acts as a mnemonic to help you remember the different ways to test a source’s reliability:

  • Currency: When was the source published? Scientific data is constantly expanding, and we’re learning new things. What was accepted to be true 200 years ago may not be the same today.
  • Relevance: Does the source answer your question? For example, you wouldn’t look in a kindergartener’s picture book of the human body for how best to treat a patient having a myocardial infarction. Make sure the source is appropriate for your needs and is written for an appropriate audience.
  • Authority: Who (or what) published the source? A health vlogger or anyone with Internet access may create materials that are just as easy to find as those published by a well-respected researcher or a nationally recognized association but not necessarily as authoritative.
  • Accuracy: Is the source correct? Some sources may be easy to disprove if they claim that water is made solely of carbon. For most sources, though, it’s a good idea to verify the claims they make by checking two or three different sources to see how they compare.
  • Purpose: Why was the source published? Was it made to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade? It might not be the best idea to take information from a sales brochure that claims its product is the best as fact.  

Other Sources for Evaluation

Many other organizations have useful and high-level ways on how to evaluate sources that can provide more detail than this basic overview guide. For further research, consider visiting the websites below:

References

California State University-Chico. (2010, September 17). Evaluating information: Applying the CRAAP test [PDF]. Meriam Library. https://library.csuchico.edu/sites/default/files/craap-test.pdf