The CRAAP test is a source evaluation checklist developed by the Meriam Library at Cal State Chico.
When evaluating sources, consider the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy,
and Purpose of the materials.
Follow the links below for more info and tutorials about the CRAAP test.
Along with the CRAAP test, the following points should be considered when using web sites and other internet sources for your research.
Who wrote the content? What is the author's expertise? What makes the author qualified to write about the topic? If no author is listed, who is responsible for the content? Is it a reputable organization? Look for credentials, such as academic degrees or organizational affiliations. Look for contact information for the author, such as an email address or phone number. Be suspicious if contact information is absent.
Check the URL for clues about the author. If it ends in .edu, the author is affiliated with an academic institution. A tilde (~) in the URL indicates a personal website. Look up the URL in whois.net for more information about the content provider.
Where did the author find the facts? Is the information cited? Are you able to verify the information? Watch out for opinion stated as fact. Check links the author provided to verify the credibility of that source. Apply the same evaluation criteria to the linked sources. Numerous spelling and grammatical errors are a sign the site is not credible.
Is the information biased? Is the author promoting a particular point of view? Is the language impartial or does it favor one side or another?
What is the purpose of the page or site? Is it to educate and inform? Or to persuade the reader to adopt a point of view? Is there a political or social or religious agenda to the site? Or does the site exist to sell a product?
How often is the material updated? Look for "Last updated". If the web site was not updated recently, determine if the information is outdated or no longer relevant/current.
It is often a good sign if a large number of sites link to the site you're viewing. In Google, type "link:" followed by the url to see the other sites that link to your site. Ex: link:www.choosemyplate.gov
Primary sources are materials that are eyewitness accounts or as close to the original source as possible. Examples of primary sources include speeches, interviews, autobiographies, memoirs, personal journals, diaries, laws, court cases, statistics, data, and polls.
Secondary sources are interpretations and analyses based on primary sources. Examples of secondary sources include literature reviews, newspaper editorial, biography, criticism of original work, scholarly journal articles, and scientific article bases on another's experiment.
These are just a few examples of both primary and secondary sources. Remember that a book is simply a format and you can find both primary and secondary sources published in book form.
For more info, see the Library's Research Guide on sources.