Website Research: CRAAP Test

Learn how to choose the best websites to use as resources for your research! URL: http://libguides.cmich.edu/web_research

CRAAP Test

It can be tempting to use any source in your paper that seems to agree with your thesis, but remember that not all information is good information, especially in an online environment.  Developed by librarians at California State University-Chico (see below for the link), the CRAAP Test is a handy checklist to use when evaulating a web resource (or ANY resource).  The test provides a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a source is reliable and credible enough to use in your academic research paper. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.  For more information, please see below.

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?

Another thing to consider - does the website's copyright date match the content's currency?  Or is it just a standard range?

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?

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 one you will use?

 

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?

Note - to help answer Authority and Purpose questions, check out a website's About page.

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?

Note - to help answer Authority and Purpose questions, check out a website's About page.

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