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Evaluating Sources: Introduction

"It was published, so it must be a credible source, right?" - students

"Um... no. That's not how that works."- librarians

Why Do I Need to Evaluate My Sources?


Not all sources are credible. 

As scholars, it is important to keep this in mind. In order to craft a meaningful argument about your topic, you need to make sure that your information is accurate. In order to get that accurate information, you need to ensure that you are using credible sources.

If you're trying to figure out if you need an umbrella, you'd want to make sure that the weather source you are using is accurate. Scholarly research is much the same. If you want to craft an accurate research paper, you need information from credible sources.

Introduction to the CRAAP Test

The CRAAP test is a method for evaluating sources, developed by librarians at CSU Chico. It uses the acronym CRAAP to identify criteria for determining the credibility of a source. The acronym stands for:


  • When was the information published?
  • Is the information current or out of date for your topic?
  • Has the information been updated?


  • Does the information relate to your topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level?


  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Can you verify the information provided in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Is the source peer-reviewed?


  • Who is the author/publisher/source?
  • What are the author’s credentials or affiliations?
  • Is the author considered an expert in this field?


  • What is the purpose of the information? To sell? Persuade? Educate? Entertain?
  • Is the information impartial and objective?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Our Reference Librarian

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Rebecca Johnston
Louis Jefferson Long Library, Room 200A
Wells College
Aurora, NY