How can I evaluate the credibility of my sources?
To evaluate the credibility of sources, try using the CRAAP test, which was developed by librarians at California State University-Chico. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. To use the CRAAP test, consider your source in terms of the following criteria.
Currency (timeliness of the information)
- When was this source published?
- Is it timely enough to meet your information needs?
- Has this information been updated in another source? If so, maybe you should use that source instead.
Relevance (importance of the information for your needs)
- Does the information contained in this source fit your information needs?
- Who is its intended audience?
- Is the information written at an appropriate level for you?
- Have you looked at several sources and determined that this is the most relevant for your research?
Authority (source of the information)
- Who is the author of the source?
- Who is the publisher?
- What are the author's credentials and organizational affiliations?
- Is the author qualified to write on this topic?
- Does the source include contact information such as a publisher or email address?
Accuracy (reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content)
- Where does this information come from?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been reviewed by an editor or refereed by other experts in this field?
- Can you verify this information in another source?
- Does the source seem unbiased?
Purpose (reason the information exists)
- What is the purpose of the information? Is it intended to pursuade, inform, entertain, or sell something?
- Are the intentions of the author made clear in the source?
- Is the information contained factual or is it opinion or propaganda?
- Is there evidence of bias in the source (political, ideological, cultural, religious, or personal)?
If you still have questions about the credibility of a particular source, please Ask a Librarian!