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CRAAP Test for Evaluating Your Sources: Home

The CRAAP test is a checklist you can use to evaluate sources that uses vertical reading of websites to assess content.

Introduction to the CRAAP Test

Developed by librarians at California State University-Chico, the CRAAP Test is an older checklist evaluation tool originally designed to evaluate websites and web content. 

The test provides a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a source is reliable and credible enough to use in your academic research paper.

CRAAP is an acronym that stands for the individual elements to search for in a web source:

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose


Keep in mind: the CRAAP test guides you to examine the content and links within a website you're on, which is called vertical reading. This is different than the contextual lateral reading method used in the newer SIFT or SWIFT method, which asks you to verify information on the website with other sources.

Image used courtesy of CC license from Georgia Southern University.


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?
  • Are the links functional?

Another thing to consider - does the website's copyright date match the content's currency?  Or is it just a standard range?


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


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 (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?


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?

Note - to help answer Authority and Purpose questions, check out a website's About page.


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, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Note - to help answer Authority and Purpose questions, check out a website's About page.

Other Evaluation Methods