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Slide Notes

The CRAAP Test Handout: https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf

One of the most important lessons you can learn about research is how to filter the BEST information on the Internet.

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Fact or CRAAP: Evaluating Internet Sources

When researching for a project or paper, students often turn to the Internet first. A Google search yields myriad results, but are those results reliable? Is the information useful? Use the CRAAP Test to determine the validity of a web source to make sure the information is fact, not crap.


Fact or CRAAP?

Evaluating Internet Sources
The CRAAP Test Handout: https://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf

One of the most important lessons you can learn about research is how to filter the BEST information on the Internet.

Untitled Slide

"Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant."
- Michael Kapor

What makes a website reliable?

Evaluating Websites:


ANYBODY can post information on the Internet:
Your neighbor
The weatherman
A 10-year old kid who loves LEGOs
Photo by KarenBaijens

Apply the CRAAP Test

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose


Currency - the timeliness of the information
Photo by MichaelHyde

If sources were cars . . .

If sources were cars, which would you use?

Source: http://library.austincc.edu
Photo by @Doug88888


Old and Abandoned Car – This source was perfectly appropriate once upon a time. But now it’s so old it no longer runs. It’s rusty and abandoned and totally out of date. Don’t use old, outdated information. Find something that still runs.
Photo by I_am_Allan


Shiny, New Car – Current research and information is usually best. For example, if you’re researching a controversial issue, you should consider the debate that is playing out right now. In the sciences, new practices and innovations are being introduced all the time. Current information could make the difference between life and death.
Photo by marcp_dmoz


Classic and Well Maintained Car – This source may have been written many years ago, but it’s still considered to be a core work on the subject. You will encounter sources like this more often in the humanities and social sciences than in medicine and the sciences where it is crucial to consider the current research. If in doubt about an older source, ask your professor or a librarian for guidance.
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Check the Dates

Dates, copyrights & updates are usually at the bottom of the page
Photo by DafneCholet

Check the Links

Broken links or redirections are suspect
For example, take this website:

How current is this site? 2009

Notice the images are missing when you check the FAQs tab.

Let's go to Services.
Wonder what the contact form is?

Oh, it's a broken link.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this is a fake website. Cloning is currently against the law.


How relevant is the information to your research?

Is the information superficial?

Superficial information is basic, general knowledge - stating the obvious, if you will. For research purposes, you want in-depth analysis.
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Is the information age appropriate?

Depending on your research topic, you need to ensure that your information is age-appropriate - not too juvenile, not too scholarly.
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Note the root word: author
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Who is the author?

Sometimes a website has signed articles, and sometimes the information is by a corporation, foundation, or group.

Who is the publisher or sponsor?

Some sites are sponsored by larger corporations, while others are published by reputable companies.

What makes the author qualified or an expert on the topic?

Is a mommy-blogger who loves to read a reliable source you can cite for a literary paper?

Is there contact information?

Author contact information may include phone numbers, mailing address, physical address, email, or other form of communication.

Check the Domain

  • .com = commercial website
  • .edu = college or university website
  • .gov = U.S. government website
  • .k12.us = public school website
  • .mil = U.S. military website
  • .net = network of computers
  • .org = organization or group
MYTH: Education & non-profit organization sites are ALWAYS reliable.

Reduce the URL

to the original domain (www.abc.com)
Learn more about domains (.gov, .edu, etc.) below.

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the Tilde ~

Denotes a personal website

Most blogs and other personal sites will have a tilde (~) before the author's name in the URL.
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What to Look for

  • About Me
  • Contact Us
  • FAQ Page
  • Mission Statement
  • Who We Are Page
Some sites have a tab with this information, while others post the About page at the bottom of the website.
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This is the tricky part . . .
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Is the information supported by evidence?

Improbable Research:

Accurate, reliable sources are usually backed by

Evidence, and

Does the author provide references or sources for data or citations?

Would you trust this bridge for support?

Would you trust this bridge to support you?
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Are there spelling, grammar, or other errors?

Scholarly, peer-reviewed articles are proof-read and edited for mistakes.
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Evaluating Purpose Video: https://vimeo.com/86743297

Who is the intended audience?

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Can you clearly identify the purpose of the information?

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Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

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Remember PIE

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  • Inflammatory language or tone
  • Marketing ploys - testimonials
  • Solicitation - donations, sales
  • Opinions rather than facts (no sources)
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  • Neutral language or tone
  • Professional layout/design
  • Facts, statistics, data
  • Case studies, experiments


  • Emotionally charged language/tone
  • Recreational games, videos, content
  • Flashy graphics and animations
  • E-commerce - online sales, subscriptions
  • Littered with advertising
The Onion:

Dihydrogen Monoxide Research:

Photo by Code Arachnid