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Fake News: Evaluating Websites - The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP Test

Developed by librarians at California State University-Chico, the CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose) is a handy checklist to use when evaluating online resources. The test provides a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a source is reliable and credible enough to believe or share. 

Note: The CRAAP test was designed to help students evaluate any website for academic use. The test is still a powerful tool for evaluating news sites, but you might need to alter some of the steps to better suit your needs.

CRAAP Evaluation Criteria

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?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance:

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?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

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, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

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?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar 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 objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Other Evaluation Methods 

Something to keep in mind: the CRAAP test is only one method for evaluating content. There are other methods out there that may be more appropriate such as RADAR (Relevance, Authority, Date, Appearance, Reason for writing) and SIFT (Stop, Investigate, Find, Trace). However, since it was one of the first evaluations for online content, CRAAP is the focus of this page. 

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