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BIOL 208 - Microbiology - Maple Woods

Cartoon showing a dog sitting at a computer speaking to another dog. It is captioned, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."

Steiner, Peter. "On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Dog." Cartoon. The New

Yorker 5 July 1993: n. pag. The New Yorker. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

What is the CRAAP Test?

The CRAAP test is a test to check the objective reliability of sources across academic disciplines. CRAAP is an acronym for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. The CRAAP Test, adapted from the tool originally developed by Molly Beestrum, is helpful to use when trying to decide if a website or other resource is a credible, valid source. The CRAAP Test looks at four major areas: currency, reliability, authority and purpose. When determining whether a source is credible or not, evaluate it on those five areas. Here are some suggestions to help you through your evaluation process.

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?

Reliability

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is is balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority
Remember: website domains can help you understand the source of the information you're looking at. For example, in order to have a .edu or .gov in your domain you have to be a college/university or governmental entity respectively. Other website domains like .com, .org, and .net can all be purchased. Don't assume that a .org is more trustworthy than a .com.

  •  Who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials? Can you find any information about the author's background?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website? If so, are they clearly marked?

Accuracy

  • Is the information factual?
  • Has it been peer-reviewed?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Does the author credit their sources?
  • Are there grammatical or spelling errors?

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this fact or opinion? Does the author list sources or cite references?
  • Is it biased? Does the author seem to be trying to push an agenda or particular side?
  • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something? If so, is it clearly stated?

Adapted with gratitude from Molly Beestrum.

 

Practice

Consider the importance of currency for the following sources: 

  • An article on cancer treatments written in 1985
  • A historical analysis of the Revolutionary War written in 1982
  • A book on computer programming written in 1995 

How relevant would the following sources be for your paper? 

  • a popular magazine article
  • the first 5 results in Google
  • the first 5 results in one of the library's databases

Are the following authoritative sources? 

  • a tweet about a new strain of coronavirus by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) 
  • a peer-reviewed article on medical marijuana written by a team of scientists 
  • The National Association of Social Workers' website and blog 

Consider what these points might mean for a resource's accuracy:

  • numerous citations found throughout 
  • emotional language and tone 
  • unable to verify the information anywhere else 

What do you think the purpose of the following could be? 

  • an article written by Apple about the picture quality of the newest iPhone
  • an article published by the NRA on gun control
  • a study funded by Coca-Cola on the connection between sugar and depression