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English Comp II: Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information

The CRAAP Test is useful for evaluating resources. When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it, but the question is...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. 

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  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

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?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Why Evaluate

Why Evaluate?

  • The world is full of information to be found—however, not all of it is valid, useful, or accurate. Therefore, you need to weigh the reliability of sources. Any resource—print, human, or electronic—used to support your research inquiry must be evaluated for its credibility and reliability.
  • Unlike similar information found in newspapers or television broadcasts, information available on the Internet is not regulated for quality or accuracy; therefore, it is particularly important for the individual Internet user to evaluate the resource or information. Without the proper quality control over web information, you must critically evaluate all the material you find there, text and graphics alike.

How To Evaluate?

  •  When you use the print and multimedia materials found in your college library and library website, your evaluation task is not so complicated because librarians have already established the credibility and appropriateness of those materials for academic research. The marketplace forces publishers to be selective as well. Start your research with both print and electronic library materials.
  • Evaluating sources is an important skill. It's been called an art as well as work—much of which is detective work. You have to decide where to look, what clues to search for, and what to accept. You may be overwhelmed with too much information or too little. The temptation is to accept whatever you find. But don't be tempted. Learning how to evaluate effectively is a skill you need both for your course papers and for your life.