Questions to Ask Yourself when Evaluating a Resource you Find Online
Sarah Blakeslee of the University of California at Chico's Meriam Library developed the CRAAP test as a way for students and teachers to evaluate sources with a skeptical eye (Mental Floss):
The CRAAP test consists of five criteria: currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose [source: Is this source or information good? California State University, Chico]:
Currency: 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?
- Are the links functional?
Relevance: 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 at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
- Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority: 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?
- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)?
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
Purpose: 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?