The CRAAP Test
We can use the CRAAP Test to evaluate resources. When you are deciding whether to use a resource, ask yourself the following questions:
Currency – Is it timely?
Relevance – Useful for your purposes?
Authority – Who? What is the source?
Accuracy – Are there references to back it up?
Purpose – Why? Is there a bias?
For more detailed information, examine the drop down explanations below:
Steps to Evaluate an Article
- Read the abstract first: the abstract summarized the articles findings, so this will help you decide whether you want to read the full article
- Skim the article: Skim the article the first time, to see if the article passes your CRAAP test. Next, read more closely the second time and take notes
- Follow up references: you can check an articles to see if the author has used reputable sources and you can find more articles that may be useful
- See who cited an article: in some databases (Web of Science, Scopus), you can see the list of other articles that cite the article. You can also sort search results by number of citations to find highly cited, potentially important papers (note: be careful some articles are highly cited because they are contentious)
- Critically evaluate each resource you use
- What makes a “good” resource can be different depending on your needs:
- Are you looking for cutting-edge information or background information?
- Are you looking for technical information or general information
- Look for articles, as peer reviewed materials is more reliable
Peer review is where journals uses experts in the field (peers) to review potential articles for publication.