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Introduction CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, & Purpose. Assignment Instructions Review What is CRAAP? and you'll see examples of the CRAAP method. It will be very diff


CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, & Purpose.

Assignment Instructions

  1. Review What is CRAAP?  and you'll see examples of the CRAAP method. It will be very difficult to do well on this assignment if you don't review the content.
  2. Do a Google search for a topic of your choice or choose one from the Broward College Library’s Topic Guide.
  3. Find two online articles, one that is based on fact and one that is based on opinion. Both articles must be on the same topic.
  4. Answer and thoroughly explain at least two questions from each category of CRAAP in your review of each article. 

CRAAP QuestionsCurrency (Use two to evaluate your articles)

  1. When was the information first published or posted?
  2. Has the information been revised or updated? If so, when?
  3. Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic? Explain.
  4. Are the links functional? Do they link to reliable sites? Explain.
  5. Does the website's copyright date match the content's currency? Is the website updated more often than the article?

Relevancy (Use two to evaluate your articles)

  1. How does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  2. Who is the intended audience? Explain.
  3. Is the information at an appropriate level for your needs? Explain how the level of information is, or isn’t, appropriate for your needs (i.e., not too simple or advanced).
  4. Would you be comfortable using this source for a college research paper? Why or why not?

Authority (Use two to evaluate your articles)

(look at the site &/or author’s “About” page)

  1. Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  2. What are the author's credentials? (education, work, &/or university faculty)
  3. What are the organization’s (website owner/sponsor) credentials? (ex. blog, news organization, professional association, museum, university, individual’s page, etc.). Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address? If so, what is it?
  4. What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic? Note: a journalist is assigned an article to write and is usually not an expert in the field.
  5. Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Explain.Examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government), .org (nonprofit organization), (network)
  6. Does the author or website show a bias on the topic? How can you tell?

Accuracy (Use two to evaluate your articles)

  1. Is the information supported by evidence? Explain.
  2. Has the information been reviewed or peer-reviewed? Explain.
  3. Can you verify any of the information from another reliable source? How?
  4. Is there a work cited list? Is the list reliable? Are there links, and are they reliable and functional?
  5. Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion? Why or why not?
  6. Does the author provide links to sources for data or quotations? Are they reliable and functional?

Purpose (Use two to evaluate your articles)

  1. What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? (ex. information, advice, advocacy, propaganda, opinion, entertainment, commercial site, personal, news, educational site) Explain.
  2. Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear? What is the point of view of the author/site? Is it fair and objective? Is it an advocacy site? Is the page associated with an organization that has a particular political or social agenda? Explain.
  3. Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda? Explain how you came to that conclusion.
  4. Does the point of view appear objective and impartial? Does the author/website owner stand to benefit from the information being provided? Ex. making money off of the site.
  5. Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases? Explain.


  • In a Word Document, list the URLs to your two articles.
  • Label which article is fact-based and which is opinion-based.
  • Next, provide your answers and explanations for each article


What is CRAAP?What is CRAAP?

Critical thinking is interwoven in all steps of the research process, and one of the earliest places you will use it is when you collect and evaluate your sources. The credibility of a research paper is a function of the sources. If you consult scholarly sources in the field, you will have a better understanding of the issue and provide a well-supported, respectable position. If, on the other hand, you consult only “soft” source material (magazines or blogs, for example), your research is going to lack the depth it needs to be convincing.

The two main questions you should ask yourself when evaluating sources are:

  • Is this source suitable?
  • Is this source trustworthy?

CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Read more about it below.

CRAAP Analysis

Let’s take a closer look at how analyzing the C.R.A.A.P. in a source can serve as a valuable source evaluation tool.

Currency: The timeliness of the information

Key Question: When was the item of information published or produced?

Determining when an item of information was published or produced is an aspect of evaluating information. The date information was published or produced tells you how current it is with the topic you are researching. There are two facets to the issue of currency.

  • Is the information the most recent version?
  • Is the information the original research, description, or account?

The question of a most recent version of information versus an original or primary version can be a critical one. For example: If you were doing a project on the survival of passengers in car crashes, you would need the most recent information on automobile crash tests, structural strength of materials, car wreck mortality statistics, etc. If, on the other hand, you were doing a project on the feelings of college students about the VietNam War during the 1960s, you would need information written in the 1960s by college students (primary sources) as well as materials written since then about college students in the 1960s (secondary sources). Key indicators of the currency of the information are:

  • date of copyright
  • date of publication
  • date of revision or edition
  • dates of sources cited
  • date of patent or trademark

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs

Key Question: How does this source contribute to my research paper?

The discussion of suitability above is essentially the same thing as relevance. When you read through your source, consider how the source will effectively support your argument and how you can utilize the source in your paper. You should also consider whether the source provides sufficient coverage of the topic. Information sources with broad, shallow coverage mean that you need to find other sources of information to obtain adequate details about your topic. Information sources with a very narrow focus or a distinct bias mean that you need to find additional sources to obtain the information on other aspects of your topic. Some questions to consider are:

  • Does the information relate to my topic or answer my question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e., not too simple or advanced) for my needs?
  • Did I look at a variety of sources before deciding to use this one?
  • Would I be comfortable using this source for my college research paper?

Authority: The source of the information

Key Question: Is the person, organization, or institution responsible for the intellectual content of the information knowledgeable in that subject?

Determining the knowledge and expertise of the author of information is an important aspect of evaluating the reliability of the information. Anyone can make an assertion or a statement about something, event, or idea, but only someone who knows or understands what that thing, event, or idea is can make a reasonably reliable statement or assertion about it. Some external indications of knowledge of or expertise are:

  • a formal academic degree in a subject area
  • professional or work-related experience–businessmen, government agency personnel, sports figures, etc. have expertise in their area of work
  • active involvement in a subject or organization by serious amateurs who spend substantial amounts of personal time researching and studying that subject area.
  • organizations, agencies, institutions, corporations with active involvement or work in a particular subject area.

What does the domain name/URL reveal about the source?

  • .com and .net: can be used for commercial sites or purchased by anyone
  • .edu: used by universities and other educational organizations
  • .org: typically used by non-profit entities
  • .gov: used by departments, agencies, or offices of the U.S. federal government

HINT: Be careful of opinions stated by professionals outside of their area of work expertise.

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

Key Question: How free from error is this piece of information?

Establishing the accuracy, or relative accuracy, of information is an important part of evaluating the reliability of the information. It is easier to establish the accuracy of facts than it is opinions, interpretations, or ideas. The more an idea, opinion, or other pieces of information varies from the accepted point of view on a particular topic, the harder it is to establish its accuracy. It may be completely accurate, but corroborating it is both more necessary and more difficult. An important aspect of accuracy is the intellectual integrity of the item.

  • Are the sources appropriately cited in the text and listed in the references?
  • Are quotations cited correctly and in context? Out of context quotations can be misleading and sometimes completely erroneous.
  • Are there exaggerations, omissions, or errors? These are difficult to identify if you use only one source of information. Always use several different sources of information on your topic. Analyzing what different sources say about a topic is one way to understand that topic.

In addition to errors of fact and integrity, you need to watch for errors of logic. Errors of logic occur primarily in the presentation of conclusions, opinions, interpretations, editorials, ideas, etc. Some indications that information is accurate are:

  • the same information can be found in other reliable sources
  • the experiment can be replicated and returns the same results
  • the documentation provided in support of the information is substantive
  • the sources used for documentation are known to be generally reliable
  • the author of the information is known to have expertise in that subject
  • the presentation is free from logical fallacies or errors
  • quotations are “in context”- the meaning of the original work is kept in the work which quotes the original
  • quotations are correctly cited
  • acronyms are clearly defined at the beginning

Some indications that information may not be accurate are:

  • facts cannot be verified or are contradicted in other sources
  • sources used are known to be unreliable or highly biased
  • bibliography of sources used is inadequate or non-existent
  • quotations are taken out of context and given a different meaning
  • acronyms are not defined, and the intended audience is a general one
  • presence of one or more logical fallacies
  • authority cited is another part of the same organization

Purpose: The reason the information exists

Key Question: Who is this information written for or this product developed for?

Identifying the intended audience of the information or product is another aspect of evaluating information. The intended audience of an item generally determines the style of presentation, the level of technical detail, and the depth of coverage. You should also consider the author’s objectivity. Are they trying to persuade? Do they present any bias? While it is unlikely that anything humans do is ever absolutely objective, it is important to establish that the information you intend to use is reasonably objective, or if it is not, to establish exactly what the point of view or bias is. There are times when information expressing a particular point of view or bias is useful, but you must use it consciously. You must know what the point of view is and why that point of view is important to your project. For example, books on food sanitation written for children, for restaurant workers, or for research microbiologists will be very different even though they all cover the same topic.

Determining the intended audience of a particular piece of information will help you decide whether or not the information will be too basic, too technical, too general, or just right for your needs. The intended audience can also indicate the potential reliability of the item because some audiences require more documentation than others.

For example, items produced for scholarly or professional audiences are generally produced by experts and go through a peer evaluation process. Items produced for the mass market frequently are not produced by experts and generally do not go through an evaluation process. Some indications of the intended audience are:

  • highly technical language, complex analysis, very sophisticated/technical tools can indicate a technical, professional, or scholarly audience
  • how-to information or current practices in “X” are frequently written by experts for practitioners in that field
  • substantive and serious presentations of a topic with not too much technical language are generally written for the educated lay audience
  • popular language, fairly simple presentations of a topic, little or no analysis, inexpensive tools can indicate a general or popular audience
  • bibliographies, especially long bibliographies, are generally compiled by and for those doing research on that topic
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