2 The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP Test

Use the CRAAP Test to evaluate resources. When examining 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 summarizes the article’s findings. This will help you decide whether you want to read the full article
  • Skim the article: skim the article to see if it passes your CRAAP test. Read more closely the second time and take notes
  • Follow up references: check an article’s references to see if the author has used reputable sources
  • See who cited an article: in some databases (Web of Science Scopus), you can see who has cited the article you are reading. You can also sort search results by the number of times cited to find highly cited papers. Make sure to evaluate each article, as some articles are highly cited because they are controversial.



  • Use the CRAAP Test to 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 peer reviewed articles, as peer reviewed materials is more reliable


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Advanced Library Skills for Physics Research Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Stieglitz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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