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Search Skills

Guides to search skills and using library research resources

evaluating information

Before using any resource in your academic work, you should evaluate it. 

  • Good quality resources help you to build your arguments and create good quality assignments.
  • Using high quality resources can boost your grades.
  • Evaluating resources is a transferable skill that is valued by employers.

How to evaluate

One way to evaluate resources is to use the CRAAP test

Think about the following:

  • Currency: the timeliness of the information.
  • Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs.
  • Authority: the sources of the information.
  • Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.
  • Purpose: the reason the information exists. 

You can apply this test to any kind of information resource to help you judge its quality, and if you will use it in your assignment. 


When evaluating a resource, you can ask yourself these questions: 

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?
  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriately academic level?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your assignment?
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organisational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? For example: .com .edu .gov .org .net
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
  • What is the purpose of the information?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Adapted from: California State University, Chico, Meriam Library. (2010). www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf . Based on the CRAAP test developed by Sarah Blakeslee (2004)

Where can I get help?

You can find help with evaluating sources from the Library

  • If you are unsure about the quality or suitability of a source or sources, please get in touch with your Subject Librarian.
  • The Library also holds workshops on evaluating material. 
  • Have a go at our interactive online tutorial on Evaluating Resources to learn more about the CRAAP Test, avoiding predatory journals, and spotting fake news.

Link to evaluating resources tutorial