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Evaluating Internet-Based Information: How to Evaluate: the CRAAP Test

Introduction: How to Evaluate

Evaluating digital information can be a complex process. Use the methods featured on this page to simplify it. Avoid letting any one source "hijack your consciousness" by critically evaluating how and why the information was created and by whom (Green, 2014). Use the questions raised by the CRAAP test to guide your critical thinking and use lateral reading to help you answer them. Best of luck with your research and remember, your librarians are always here to help. 

Is It CRAAP?

Currency

  • If relevant, when was the information gathered?
  • When was it posted? When was it last revised?
  • Are links functional and up-to-date?
  • Is there evidence of newly added information or links?

Relevance/Coverage

  • What is the depth and breadth of the information presented?
  • Is the information unique? Is it available elsewhere, in print or electronic format?
  • Could you find the same or better information in another source (for example, a general encyclopedia)?
  • Who is the intended audience? Is this easily determined?
  • Does the site provide the information you need?
  • Your overall assessment is important. Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority 

  • Who is the author/creator/sponsor?
  • Are author's credentials listed?
  • Is the author a teacher or student of the topic?
  • Does the author have a reputation? Is there contact information, such as an e-mail address? Has the author published works in traditional formats? Is the author affiliated with an organization?
  • Does this organization appear to support or sponsor the page?
  • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information, if anything?

Example: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy 

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Are the original sources of information listed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in independent sources or from your own knowledge?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed? Does the language or tone seem biased?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typos?

Purpose

  • Are possible biases clearly stated?
  • Is advertising content vs. informational content easily distinguishable? Are editorials clearly labeled?
  • Is the purpose of the page stated?
  • Is the purpose to: inform? teach? entertain? enlighten? sell? persuade?
  • What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source of the information, if anything?

Example: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Thanks to the Meriam Library at CSU Chico for formulating the CRAAP test.

And if you prefer video CRAAP. . . .

More resources. . . .

Below are some helpful links that can guide you in evaluating a Web site.

Please see a librarian or your instructor during your research if you would like help as you evaluate as well.

(above photo from YourName.net.au)

Reading laterally

Reading laterally is a practice of effective fact checkers in which searchers move laterally across connected sites or sources to determine the credibility of the specific source they are evaluating. Instead of staying on the site they are trying to evaluate, a skilled researcher will open up new tabs in their browser and explore what other websites have to say about the source they are evaluating. 

Lateral readers:

  • Leave the original page
  • Do additional web searches to determine what other credible sources say about the source they are evaluating
  • Do additional web searches to learn more about the author of the source they are evaluating, and their credentials
  • Piece together varies pieces of information to form a full-picture of the source they are evaluating
  • Use fact checking sources like Snopes.com, PolitiFact.com, or FactCheck.org

Caufield, M. (n.d). Web literacy for student fact checkers. https://webliteracy.pressbooks.com/.

Green, John. [CrashCourse]. (2019, January 22). Check Yourself with Lateral Reading: Crash Course Navigating Digital Information #3 [Youtube video]. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoQG6Tin-1E&t=157s. 

Citations

Green, John. [CrashCourse]. (2019, January 22). Check Yourself with Lateral Reading: Crash Course Navigating Digital Information #3 [Youtube video]. Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoQG6Tin-1E&t=157s.