Evaluating Information with the CRAAP Method
Information is all around us. But finding good information can be a little trickier. One evaluation tool we can utilize when we come across information is the CRAAP method. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Use the questions posed below on your sources to see if they stack up!
When was the information created? How old is too old? Does the currency of the information matter? Has the material been updated or revised?
Consider the importance of currency for the following sources:
- An article on cancer treatments written in 1970
- A historical analysis of the Revolutionary War written in 1982
- A book on computer programming written in 1995
Is the information related to your research? Does the information support your assignment? Did you look at only one source? Who is this written for?
How relevant would the following sources be for your paper?
- a popular magazine article
- the first 5 results in Google
- the first 5 results in Discovery or one of the library's other databases
Who or what created the information? Who or what is publishing the information? 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?
Remember: website domains can help you understand the source of the information you're looking at. For example, in order to have a .edu or .gov in your domain you have to be a college/university or governmental entity respectively. Other website domains like .com, .org, and .net can all be purchased. Don't assume that a .org is more trustworthy than a .com!!!
Are the following authoritative sources?
- a tweet about a salmonella outbreak by the CDC (Center for Disease Control)
- a peer-reviewed article on medical marijuana written by a team of scientists
- The National Association of Social Workers' website and blog
Is this information factual? Has it been peer-reviewed? Is the information supported by evidence? Does the author credit their sources? Are there grammatical or spelling errors?
Consider what these points might mean for a resource's accuracy:
- numerous citations found throughout
- misuse of "they're"
- emotional language and tone
- unable to verify the information anywhere else
Why was this information created? Was the information created to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade you? Is the purpose made clear?
Remember: information can have political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal bias. Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda?
What do you think the purpose of the following could be?
- an article written by Apple about the picture quality of the newest iPhone
- an article published by the NRA on gun control
- a study funded by Coca-Cola on the connection between sugar and depression
The CRAAP Method was developed by Meriam Library at California State University.