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EBIO 1940: Academic Writing for Science Students: Evaluating Information

Start here to find information about your EBIO 1950 assignment.

The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP test is a set of questions for evaluating information. The version below is slightly modified for the purposes of this class. Depending on your situation, some questions will be more important than others (and you might develop questions and criteria of your own), but this should give you a starting point for determining if a resource is a good choice for your needs.  The CRAAP test was developed by librarians at California State University, Chico.

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?
  • If the information is found in a website, are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

  • Does the information relate to your topic or question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or too advanced for your needs)?
  • What other kinds of sources should you look at before deciding which ones to use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your assignment?

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 for the author or publisher?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

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?
  • Are there spelling, grammatical, 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 to be impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, or personal biases?

 

In-Class Activity

You're writing a paper on the causes of climate change when you come across this article.  Work with your groups to answer the questions in the CRAAP test for either the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, or Purpose section and record your responses in Padlet.