Evaluating information

Critically evaluating information that you find to use for your assignments is essential for academic success, as well as a useful life skill.

The CRAAP Test was developed by Sarah Blakeslee of California State University as an easy to remember acronym to help judge if a source is worth using.

Currency

  • Is it up-to-date? Does it need to be?
  • When was it published, or last updated (webpage)?

Relevancy

  • Is the information useful and does it support your work?
  • Does it cover your topic in enough depth and scope? e.g. Geography i.e. Australian? International?
  • Does it meet your needs? - i.e. is it peer-reviewed if you are required to use a peer-reviewed journal?

Authority

  • Who is the author? Are they known in their field? Are they associated with reputable organisations? e.g. a university or official body
  • For a webpage:
    • is the author noted or is the organisation well known? e.g. government agency?
    • do the links work? Does the site look well maintained?
  • Is there advertising alongside the information?

Accuracy

  • Is it supported by reliable facts or statistics? References?
  • Look at the URL for webpages. Is the site commercial (.com), government (.gov) or educational (.edu)?

Purpose

  • Why was it written? Is it to inform, teach, sell entertain or persuade?
    • Is the work fact, opinion or propaganda?
    • Does it contain extreme viewpoints? Is it biased?
    • Does it contain emotive or derogatory language?
  • Is there disclosure of author affiliations, or funding for the research or study?
  • Is there advertising alongside the information?

The CRAAP Test Game

Practice and test your evaluation skills with The CRAAP Test Game. Evaluate 16 sources against the CRAAP Test criteria in this point and click game. Each category of the CRAAP test drip feeds information for you to evaluate, and decide whether a source stays or goes.