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Shapiro Library

Evaluating Sources

This guide will provide you with information that you can use to critically evaluate sources including websites, articles and reports, books and ebooks, etc.

What is C.R.A.A.P.O.?


C.R.A.A.P.O. is an acronym for the primary criteria you want to use when evaluating sources. It stands for:

Use the tabs on this box for more information about each criteria. Keep in mind that most of these criteria apply to evaluating websites as well, but websites may have some additional criteria to consider such as domain and functionality. Visit the What About Websites? page for more details.

Check out the Source Evaluation Rubric for a step-by-step evaluation tool.

The C.R.A.A.P. Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee (University of California at Chico, Meriam Library). With her permission, this content was based off her original text with some modification.

C.R.A.A.P.O. Term Definitions

Term Definitions
Term Definition
Currency
  • When was the information created or last updated?
  • Date should be prominently displayed.
  • For electronic sources -- are links functional on site?*
Relevancy
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (not too simple/not too advanced)?
  • 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 project?
Authority
  • Who is the author?
  • Is the author the original creator of the information?
  • Are the author's occupation, education, or other credentials listed?
  • Who are the author’s organizational affiliations?
  • For websites -- what does the URL reveal about the author or source, i.e. .com, .org, .edu, .gov?*
Accuracy
  • Is the information verifiable?
  • Is it accurate?
  • Are their resources documented?
  • What does this source offer compared to other resources?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?
  • Is the language or tone unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Can you verify the information in another source?
  • Is the information crowd sourced or vulnerable to changes by other authors, i.e. Wikipedia or other public wiki?*
Purpose
  • What appears to be the purpose of the information -- to inform, teach, sell, entertain, public services, or persuade?
  • Is the information biased?
  • Are there any advertisements?
  • Why is the author/creator providing this information?
Objectivity
  • What institution (company, organization, government, university, etc.) supports this information?
  • Does the institution appear to exercise quality control over the information appearing under its name?
  • Does the author's affiliation with this particular institution appear to bias the information?
  • Is there advertising and does it affect the content and message of the source?