Skip to Main Content

HE263 Pantages

A course guide to support HE263: Marijuana & the Body, winter term 2020. Instructor: Tim Pantages.

In class exercise (Popular/Scholarly)

Evaluate information using the CRAP Test

Evaluating information is especially important when completing projects and assignments in college (and at work!) because you will be evaluated on the quality of sources you use. The CRAP Test is a helpful tool to use when deciding if a source is "good." CRAP stands for Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose.

When you evaluate a source, consider these four concepts by asking yourself a few questions about each.


  • When was the item originally written or created?
  • How recently has the item been updated?
  • Is the information current enough for your topic?


  • How important is it for you that this information is accurate?
  • Are there Works Cited or References, informal citations, or links to outside sources? Are sources included for data, quotations, and images?
  • Was the item reviewed by experts or people with relevant experience?
  • Does this information have any characteristics of misinformation, disinformation, or fake news?
  • Does the information seem accurate based on your existing knowledge of the subject?


  • Who is the creator or author? What does it mean if you cannot identify the creator or author?
  • What are their credentials? Can you find any information about the author's background, education, and/or experience?
  • Who is the publisher, sponsor, or hosting website? Are they reputable? What is the publisher's interest (if any) in sharing this information? What is on their "About Us" page?

Purpose / Point of View

  • Does the information help you answer your questions, learn widely about your topic, and / or think about your topic in new ways?
  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Can you identify bias in the article? Does the information amplify certain viewpoints or experiences? Does the information omit or misconstrue certain viewpoints or experiences?
  • Is this information meant to educate you, persuade you, sell you something, and / or appeal to your emotions or values? If so, are these intentions clearly stated?
  • Who is the intended audience for this information? How might the audience impact what is shared and how (e.g., does this resource require in-depth knowledge to understand)? Is this information intended for you and your information needs?

CRAP Test adapted from Beestrum, M., & Orenic, K. (2008). The CRAP test. Available from

In-class exercise (CRAP test)

What is a good quality source?

"Quality" ribbon - clipart.It depends on what "it" is, and the context in which you're using it. Think about the type of information (e.g., a tweet, a painting) and what you expect of it in terms of quality and in terms of your intended use of it. We'll do this together in class.

Also, I find that asking myself these questions helps me decide if information is good to use:

  1. Is there thoughtful substance to this information?
  2. Can I identify an author?
  3. Does this information seem trustworthy to me?
  4. Do I trust the publisher of this information (could be a website, blog, magazine, corporation)?
  5. If this is an opinion piece, is it fact-based or totally coming out of left field?
  6. How old is this information and does that matter?
  7. Could you talk about this topic around the water cooler?
  8. Does this source ask questions? Is it philosophical?
  9. Is the source long enough to actually share good, meaty information?

Checking facts

Here are some tips for making sure the information you have is accurate and reliable:

  • Find the original source.
  • Can you find the same information elsewhere from a credible source?
  • Go ahead and Google!
  • Click on the links in the article/on the website - do they go to trustworthy places?
  • Research the author to learn their expertise and credentials.
  • Read the "about us" section.
  • Use a fact-checking site.

Clackamas Community College Library - 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon 97045
Reference: 503-594-6042     |     |     Circulation: 503-594-6323
Library Hours     |     Moodle     |     myClackamas     |     FAQ
Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, content in these research guides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Link broken? Information need updating? Have website feedback? Please email