Evaluating Sources - Use the C.R.A.P. Test!
Depending on your field of study and current topic, you may use a variety of resources in your research. You will need to evaluate all of them to determine whether or not they are reliable and relevant to your current project. Whether you have a book, article, website, or other source, you can use the C.R.A.P. Test* to decide whether or not it's worth including in your resource list. (download a printable version here)
Currency: Is the information recent enough for your topic/field of research?
- Was it published in the last __ years or around the time of an original event?
Relevancy: Does the information apply to your topic?
- Is it a primary or secondary source?
- How much of the information applies to your topic?
- Is the information general or detailed, balanced or biased?
Authority: Who authored this information? Are they a trustworthy source of information?
- Was it a single person or several people?
- Was it a corporation or organization?
- Are their credentials provided?
- Are methods/references provided?
- Was it peer-reviewed?
Purpose: Why was this written?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the information intended to inform, persuade, sell, entertain, …?
- Is this a first-hand account of an event or research?
- Does the author have a vested interest in the topic?
The above are questions to consider - you do not need to answer every question about every source. Just remember to think about it before citing!
Have any questions or comments about this guide? Please e-mail us!
*Thanks to the Champlain College Library for suggesting this guide.