Evaluating Information

Trocaire College Libraries

A simple way to evaluate information is called the CRAAP

test. Developed by the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico, this test looks at 5 methods for determining if information is valid

Currency - The chronological relationship between the source’s date and your research need

Ask yourself:


  • When was the information created or published?
  • Does my research/topic require the most current information? If yes...Is this information outdated by current medical or scientific standards? (Articles written with the last 3-5 years are best to ensure you are not looking at outdated information).
  • Has the website or book been updated recently?
  • Does the website have dead links?



Think about:


Some areas of study may need the most updated information while others may not

Relevance - The extent to which this source meets your research needs

Ask yourself:


  • Does the information relate directly to your topic?
  • Is the information scholarly?
  • Have you looked at other sources to be sure it is the best source for your research?


Think about:


It is possible for an information source to be great, but not relevant to your research needs

Authority - The author or creator of the information

Ask yourself:


  • Who is the source of this information?
  • What are their credentials or training in this field?
  • Are they qualified to write about this topic?
  • What is the website's domain?


Think about:


Both who wrote the information and who sponsors the information should be taken into consideration when determining authority

Accuracy - The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

Ask yourself:


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Are there links or citations to support the information presented?
  • Has the information been proven by someone other than the author?
  • Has an outside party reviewed the information and found it correct?


Think about:


Determining accuracy may require you to research additional sources

Purpose - The reason the information exists

Ask yourself:


  • Who is creating this information?
  • Why was this information published?
    • Is it to sell you something or to sell your information?
    • Is it to mislead you?
  • Is the information impartial and free of biased language?
  • Are they trying to distort the truth?


Think about:


The websites domain, along with it's content, can be helpful in determining purpose

Any questions, ask a librarian!

Created April 2020