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Finding Reliable Sources: CRAAP Test

Lanier Technical College Library's guide to finding and evaluating all types of information one might read and / or hear in everyday life.

What is the CRAAP test?

When doing research, remember that not all information is good information, especially in an online environment.  Developed by librarians at California State University-Chico, the CRAAP Test is a handy checklist to use when evaluating a web resource (or ANY resource).  The test provides a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a source is reliable and credible enough to use in your academic research paper. CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.  

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 refereed?
  • 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?

Contact Us!

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Lanier Technical College Libraries

Kathryn Thompson
Director of Library Services

Hall Campus
770-533-6968
kthompson@laniertech.edu

Min Su
Librarian

Forsyth Campus
678-341-6636
msu@laniertech.edu

Tina Jordan
Librarian

Dawson Campus
678-513-5221
tjordan@laniertech.edu

Patrick Stanley
Librarian

Barrow & Jackson Campus
770-294-4525
pstanley@laniertech.edu