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Evaluating Sources: The CRAAP Test

CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Use the CRAAP Test to evaluate your sources.


This guide illustrates the use of the CRAAP Test in evaluating sources and the SIFT test in evaluating online information. This information is provided by the Merritt College library. It may be used in support of all the classes on campus.

The CRAAP test looks at various aspects of the information that you have found while doing research. You may have found  information in the form of an article, book, website, or other resource such as a movie. Each aspect below can help you determine if your resource is high quality - or not.

The aspects are:






Read below for the specific questions you should ask about each of these.

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The CRAAP Test

When searching for articles and other information, you'll often find tons of it! But is it reliable? Can you trust the source? The CRAAP test is a way to help you evaluate the sources that you find. Are they likely high quality or pants-on-fire false?

Evaluation Criteria - CRAAP

Currency: The timeliness of the information.
  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well? Are the links functional?
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority: The source of the information.
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address? Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

From the Miriam Library, California State University, Chico

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.