ENGL 127 Writing: Social Sciences (Martin)

For students in Aley Martin's section of English127

Evaluate All Your Sources

Do Your Sources Pass the CRAAP Test?

Evaluation is about asking the right questions and using the C.R.A.A.P test of evaluation is just one way to review and assess the quality of your sources.  Do your sources pass the CRAAP test? If not, find a better source!


Currency: The timeliness of the information
  • How recent is the information? Can you find a date of publication?
  • Is the currency of information important for your particular topic?
  • Does information about your topic change rapidly or frequently?
  • Is older, historical information important for your topic?
  • If source is a website, are the links functional?
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question? 
  • Is the source popular or scholarly?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
Authority:The source of the information
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor? 
  • What are the author's qualifications, credentials, organizational/educational affiliations? 
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address? 
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content
  • Where does the information come from?  Does the source list its own references?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
Purpose: The reason the information exists
  • What is the information being published? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? 
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Can you determine if the publisher/sponsor has political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
  • For web sources, what is the domain? (.edu, .gov, .com, .org, .net)?
  • For web sources, who are the sponsors of the site?  Are there advertisements? Do they affect or color the information being presented?

Download a copy of the C.R.A.A.P. Test below

Fact Checking in Journalism - a day in the life

Fact-Checking

New Yorker Article - Daniel Radcliffe and the Art of the Fact-Check

Don't Settle

Effective Web Searching

Improve your search results with site-specific searching: 

Limit to:

  • Government websites: site:.gov
  • Educational institutions (but watch out for student work!) site:.edu
  • Non-profit organizations (and some businesses) site:.org
  • Specific industries and many news sources are commercial enterprises. site:.com

Evaluate this!

Practice your Evaluation Skills

Practice evaluating information with the four websites below.

Use the CRAP test to the left.