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Five Themes of Geography

Evaluation Sources

Testing Your Web Resources

Stats on site use.

STOP! Take the CRAAP Test!

Take the CRAAP Test

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

* Currencythe timeliness of the information

  • How recent is the information? When was it published or posted?
  • Can you locate a date for when the resource was written/created/revised/updated?
  • Based on your topic, is it current enough?
  • Why might the date matter for your topic?
  • [Web criteria]: Are the links functional?

* Relevancethe importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e., not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining that this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? 
  • Is it balanced or biased?
  • Is there a Bibliography? In other words, does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

* Authority the source of the information

  • Can you determine who is the creator/author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author’s credentials (education, affiliation, expertise?)
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is the publisher or sponsor reputable?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?
  • [Web criteria]: Does the URL reveal anything abut the author or source?
    • Examples:  .com .edu .gov .org .net

* Accuracythe 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?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?

* Purpose/Point of View 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 objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
  • 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?
  • [Web criteria]: What is the domain? (.com .edu, .gov?) How might this influence the purpose or point of view?
  • [Web criteria]: Are there ads on the webpage? How do they relate to the topic of the web resource?

A Note on Website Domains

You can restrict your search in Google by typing in the form  “site:.edu” (or whatever domain you specifically want to search).

What is the site’s domain? A domain is used to identify an IP address. Here are a few common ones. While the type of domain is not a guarantee of reliable information, generally speaking, a site from .gov or .edu or .org domains are more reliable than those from .coms.

.edu — educational institutions

.org — organizations, usually non-profit

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

.net — network organizations related to the Internet itself

.mil — military

Adapted from Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. Updated Sept. 17, 2010.