Evaluate Your Online Resources

Does Your Web Site Pass the C.R.A.A.P. Test?  

Before you decide to use an online source in your research, make sure you run it through the following important points.
Currency:  The timeliness of the information.  
• When was the information published or posted?  
• Has the information been revised or updated?  
• Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?  
• 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/advanced for needs)?  
• Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?  

Authority:  The source of the information.  
• Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?  
• Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given? If yes, what are they? 
• What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?  
• Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?  
• Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Examples: .com .edu .gov .org  

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational 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 biased and free of emotion?  
• Are there obvious errors (spelling, grammar, etc.)?  

Purpose: The reason the information exists. 
• What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?  
• Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?  
• Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?  
• Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?  
• Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?