Evaluating and Choosing The Best Sources - The CRAAP Test

We live in a world of data overload. Some information is great, and some of it needs to pass a CRAAP test. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Use the Evaluate CRAAP Test  to your sources. The CRAAP Test is a test to check the reliability of sources across academic disciplines. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

Due to a large number of sources being online, it can be difficult to tell whether these sources are accurate to use as tools for research.

Is your source CRAAP?


Currency


The timeliness of the information. Does this source match the current thinking about or knowledge of this topic? When was the data published (book, article, or report), posted, or created (website, video, podcast, image)? Has the information been reviewed or updated recently? Are the links working?

Relevance

The relevance of the information for your needs. How does the data associate with your topic or answer your question? Who is the intended audience? For example, is it written for experts in this common field or subject or is it written for general readers?

Is the information at a relevant level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)? How does this source compare to the other sources you have found? Does it offer anything different? Have you studied a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use? What kind of documentation is this?

Primary or secondary source? Factual/descriptive or analytic/synthetic? Does it do what I want it to do? What kind of information do I need to complete the task?

Authority


The source of the information. Who is the author/publisher/creator/sponsor? If there is a person as author or producer, are they a specialist on this topic?

Click on the author’s name or google them. Also see for other authors or creators who have written, commented on, or addressed the same topic. If there is an organization or company as the author or creator, does that organization have any background or relation to the information presented?

Look for an “About Us”, “Who We Are”, or other pages to find out. For websites, does the URL reveal anything about the authors/sponsors/creators of the source? For example, it is a .edu (educational), or .gov (U.S. government) page or publication?

Accuracy


The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content. Is the information held by data, citations, references, or links/ hyperlinks? Has the information been evaluated or refereed? For example, a scholarly journal has a peer-review process before they publish an article.

A book has a reader that checks the information they are publishing. Do the different sources you’ve found comfort the information presented or provide alternative views of the topic? Do the authors/sponsors/creators raise and address doubts about their position?

What sort of language or images is the author or creator using? Emotional? Angry? Calm? Do the authors/supporters get their plans or purpose clear? For a book or article, read the Declaration. For a website, look for an “About Us” type of link. Do the authors/sponsors/creators or publishers identify this information as opinion or editorial?

Purpose


The reason the information exists. What is the meaning of the information? To inform or teach? To sell? To entertain? To convince? What is the nature of the source?

What sort of language or images is the author or creator using? Emotional? Angry? Calm? Do the authors/supporters get their plans or purpose clear? For a book or article, read the Declaration.

For a website, look for an “About Us” type of link. Do the authors/sponsors/creators or publishers identify this information as opinion or editorial?

The Stanford Study

They found that faculty performed just better than juniors in assessing the credibility of web content, primarily because they used the deep dive type of evaluation supported by methods like CRAAP thoroughly examining the site itself.

Fact-checkers, on the other hand, almost instantly created an independent verification process, a plan the researchers dubbed  lateral reading opening multiple tabs and searching for objective information on the publishing organization, funding experts, and other factors that might indicate the reliability and view of the site and its authors or supporters.

Conclusion

As such, while very important for many new types of net content, I would explain that the CRAAP “deep-dive” analysis of a special web expert is no longer fully sufficient in light of the increasing sophistication of the web, hypothetical obstacles to content creation, and the muddling effect of social media on information using and sharing.

While it is clear that each of CRAAP’s estimates has the continuous advantage, it has matured vitally important to place knowledge into a wider connection to appropriately evaluate its credibility, as well as teach how data is arranged and displayed on search engines and social media.