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Evaluating Sources: Home

This guide will help you learn how to evaluate different types of sources.

Getting Started

Any information you consider to use as a source must be evaluated for accuracy and reliability.

The CRAAP Test (developed by Meriam Library, CSU, Chico) is a list of questions to ask about your source to determine its quality. Whether it is a peer-reviewed article or a video posted on your Facebook feed, all sources must be evaluated. Your source may not meet every criterion on this list; different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or information need.

Watch the video below for more information about evaluating sources.

Understanding Types of Sources

Check out the "Know Your Sources Infographic" (preview below) to learn more about the characteristics of the wide range of sources you will find in the library to use in your research.

Image for know your sources infographic


CRAAP Test logo

Currency: The timeliness of the information 

  • When was your source published or posted?

  • Does your topic require current information?

  • Has the information been revised or updated?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs

  • Does this source relate to my topic or provide support for my body paragraphs?

  • Who is the audience?

  • Is the information presented in a particular context?

  • Does the source provide enough, detailed information?

Authority: The source of the information

  • Does the author have credentials and contextual knowledge to speak about the topic?

  • Is information given about the author or organization?

  • Does the URL reveal anything about the source (.org/.edu/.com/.gov)?

  • If no author is given, who is the publisher and what information is provided?

  • Look for a website's About or About Us page to help answer Authority and Purpose questions

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  •  Are secondary sources cited? Are they credible, high-quality sources? 

  • Is the language objective and unbiased?

  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

  • 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? 

  • Is the information presented as opinion, marketing, propaganda, or fact?

  • Do the authors/publishers make their intentions or purpose clear?

  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

  • Look for a website's About or About Us page to help answer Authority and Purpose questions. 

Evaluating Sources

Fact or Fiction?

Helpful Websites

3 Elements to Effective Debunking

Cook, J. (2016, October 26). Countering climate science denial and communicating scientific consensus. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from