Evaluating Information with the CRAAP Method
Information is literally at our fingertips. But finding good information can be a little trickier. By applying the CRAAP method when you evaluate sources, you will be able to differentiate between the good, the bad, and the ugly. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Use the questions posed below on your sources to see if they stack up!
Currency: the timeliness of the information
When was the information created, published or posted? How old is too old? Does the currency of the information matter? Has the material been updated or revised? Are the links functional?
Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs
Is the information related to your research? Does the information support your assignment? Did you look at only one source or have you looked at a variety of sources? Who is the intended audience? Is the information at an appropriate level?
Authority: the source of the information
Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? What credentials, education, affiliations, or experience does the information creator have to write on this topic? Can you find information about the author easily? What can we tell from the domain of the website where the information has been published? Is there contact information? Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (examples: .com, .edu, .gov, .org)?
Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
Is the information supported by evidence? Where does the information come from? Has it been peer-reviewed? Does the author credit their sources? Can you verify any of the information in another source? Are there grammatical or spelling errors?
Purpose: the reason the information exists
Why was this information created? Was the information created to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade you? Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear? Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Remember: information can have political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal bias. Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda?
The CRAAP Method was developed by Meriam Library at California State University.