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GSJ: Global Search for Justice

Importance of Evaluation

It's important to carefully evaluate all information sources -- whether they are books, magazines, videos, or websites. Being able to evaluate resources is a life-long skill that will be useful long after you graduate.

One tool for evaluating online sources is the CRAAP test, although you may develop your own method of evaluation.

Evaluating Sources for Credibility (from NCSU Libraries)

CRAAP Test Criteria

Use this list of questions to help you determine if an information source is credible. Each criterion may be more or less important depending on your needs. So, is your information good or is it a bunch of …

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional and up-to-date?

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 (not too simple or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/sponsor?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations? Can you contact that author?
  • What does the URL tell you about the source of the information (.com, .org, .edu, .gov)?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from your own knowledge?
  • 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, or persuade?
  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Is advertising content vs. information easily distinguishable?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Adapted from “Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test,” created by the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico, 2010.

©2014 St. Catherine University Library, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA