Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Kirkwood logo

Research Help

A help guide on some key activities involved in research processes.

Why Evaluate?

The world of information is changing and expanding every moment. Some changes, like having more and more books and academic research available for searching online, are very helpful to student researchers. Other changes, like having more and more false or misleading information pouring into popular media channels, can make your work more difficult and time-consuming. Because of this over-abundance of poor or false information, we need to equip ourselves with some basic, solid tools for evaluating information, that we can apply in any situation. Because  evaluating information sources isn't a single step of the research process, it's actually something you do all the time, from the moment you begin your project until you do your final check. The resources on this guide will provide you with some tools to more effectively evaluate different types of information you may encounter. 

Evaluating Guidelines

Evaluating Information: Applying the CRAAP Test

from Meriam Library, CSU at Chico

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it . . . but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Evaluation Criteria

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 referred?
  • 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?

Videos & Tutorials on Evaluating Sources

These videos and tutorials are from Credo InfoLit. You may need to log in with your k number and password to view content.

 

Home

Hours

Contact us

Library Facebook Library Blog Library YouTube