C.R.A.A.P.(O.), which stands for currency, relevancy, accuracy, authority, purpose & objectivity, is an acronym used for the criteria you want to use when evaluating sources. Please note that different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. Within each category you will want to consider certain criteria and ask yourself certain questions.
Currency: Timeliness of the information
- 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?
Relevancy: Importance of the information for your needs
- Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the information at an appropriate level (not too simple / not too advanced) for your need?
Accuracy: Reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content
- Where does the information come from?
- Is the information supported by evidence?
- Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
- Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
- Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
- Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
Authority: Source of the information
- Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
- What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
- Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
- Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
- Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)?
Purpose & Objectivity: Reason why the author created the work
- What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade?
- 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?