Evaluate & Choose Sources
Carefully evaluate the sources you include in your own work using the CRAAP test! Professors may specify that you use only scholarly sources in your work, but otherwise non-scholarly sources such as articles from websites, online newspapers & magazines, trade journals, blog posts, podcasts, or videos can be good sources if carefully evaluated.
- When was the information published or posted?
- Has the information been revised or updated?
- Is the information up to date or have there been any major changes affecting the topic since the content was published?
- Are there broken links? This may indicate a site that is no longer maintained.
- Does the publication answer your questions or provide information relevant to your topic?
- Who is the intended audience — general readers? Experts? Professionals in a particular field?
- Is the information at an appropriate level?
- Have you looked at multiple sources?
- What is the author’s background? What else have they written? Are they considered an authority in the field, have advanced degrees, are they sponsored by an institution?
- Scholarship can exist outside academic circles and it is worth considering works by authors who may bring a different perspective.
- Is the author an organization or a corporation? Be wary of content with no author credits.
- Where does the information come from?
- Is it supported by evidence?
- Does the author provide a reference list or links to original research or primary source documents?
- Do they name their sources?
- Can you verify the information using other sources?
- Why was this information published or posted?
- Is the purpose of the publication educational, commercial or political?
- Look out for sensationalist or alarmist titles or claims.
- Does the author present multiple sides of an issue in a neutral tone, or is there a particular viewpoint?
- If published by an organization, is it non-profit or for-profit? Are they selling something? Do they have a particular agenda such as a think-tank or Political Action Committee (PAC)?
Questions & Help
If you have questions on this, or another, topic, contact a librarian for help!