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How can I evaluate the credibility of my sources?

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2017  |  14 Views

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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

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