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Evaluating Information

When you are conducting research, you have a multitude of places to find information on your topic.  But, how do you know you are looking at something that is quality or not?

A thumbnail of the Evaluating Information infographic
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A simple way to evaluate information is called the CRAAP test.  Developed by the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico, this test looks at 5 methods for determining if information is valid or not.

Currency:

  • When was the information created or published?
  • Is this information outdated by current medical or scientific standards?
    • Articles written with the last 3-5 years are best to ensure you are not looking at outdated information.
  • Has a book or website been updated recently?
  • Does the website have dead links?

Relevance:

  • Does the information relate directly to your topic?
  • Is the information scholarly?
  • Have you looked at other sources to be sure it is the best source for your research?

Authority:

  • Who is the source of this information?
  • What are their credentials or training in this field?
  • Are they qualified to write about this topic?
  • Is this an .edu or .com website?

Accuracy:

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Are there links or citations to support the information presented?
  • Has the information been proven by someone other than the author?
  • Has an outside party reviewed the information and found it correct?

Purpose:

  • Who is creating this information?
  • Why was this information published?
    • Is it to sell you something or to sell your information?
    • Is it to mislead you?
  • Is the information impartial and free of biased language?
  • Are they trying to distort the truth?