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English 110

An introduction to library resources and research strategies for English 110

Is It CRAAP?

"Media Bias Handout" 2019 by Ame Maloney under a "Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0" license. 

One easy way to evaluate sources is by applying the CRAAP test:

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published, posted, revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional and current?

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?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

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 (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)?

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

  • Where does the information come from? Are references and citations provided?
  • 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?

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?

Adapted from the CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico, under a "Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0" license. 

Using the CRAAP Test to Evaluate Library Resources

Because the library databases are designed to facilitate scholarly research, the item descriptions make it easy to quickly evaluate sources.

  • The publication date indicates currency
  • The type of publication indicates accuracy and authority by telling you if a source is an academic journal or a popular periodical
  • The journal title and article abstract can indicate purpose by giving clues about the intended audience
  • The subject headings indicate relevance by describing the topics covered in an article