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OLRM: Evaluating Information

Before you use "information" for your paper....

Take the CRAP Test

Evaluate Sources Based on the Following Criteria:
Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View

* Currency -

  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you locate a date for when the resource was written/created/updated?
  • Based on your topic, is it current enough?
  • Why might the date matter for your topic?

* Reliability -

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? 
  • Is is balanced or biased?
  • Is there a Bibliography? In other words, does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

* Authority -

  • Can you determine who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials (education, affiliation, expertise?)
  • Is the publisher or sponsor reputable?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?

* Purpose/Point of View -

  • What's the intent of the article? (to persuade you, to sell you something?)
  • For web resources, what is the domain? (.com .edu, .gov?) How might this influence the purpose or point of view?
  • For web resources, are there ads on the webpage? How do they related to the topic of the web resource? (for example an ad for ammunition next to an article on firearm legislation or against gun control)
  • Is the author presenting fact or opinion?  How do you know?

A Note on Website Domains - a quality filter in Advanced Google searching and in evaluating websites

What is the site’s domain? It is the part of the URL after the last "."

Although the system is far from perfect, the following list gives an several kinds of sites, as defined by their domains.   While the type of domain is not a guarantee of reliable information, generally speaking site from .gov or .edu or .org domains are more reliable than those from dot-coms.

.gov — government agencies

.edu — educational institutions

.org — organizations, usually non-profit

.com — commercial businesses, including companies that host personal websites and blogs

.net — organizations related to the Internet itself, such as a local Internet Service Provider


Adapted from Vanderbilt University Library "What the Crap?": http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/central/crap_files/frame.htm and
Ohio University Libraries: