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COMM111 Susan Martin-FA22

Crowd-sourced definition of "credible sources"

On your Informative Speech assignment, Kerrie expects you to use “3 pieces of documented supporting materials” that “have credibility and come from a valid source.” Let’s build a shared understanding of what that means.

A credible source is written by a knowledgeable, identifiable author(s); cites its sources of information; is up-to-date; is transparent in its purpose; is available in full text.

Characteristics of a credible source include:

  • Author or publisher is associated with an academic entity, research institution, other respected & known entities.
    • .gov, .edu which are regulated websites.
    • org is also good, and .com, but always check the About Us, Purpose pages.
  • Groups / organizations can be authors (e.g., Oregon Health Authority).
  • Avoid anonymous authors. Transparent authorship is important.
  • Author / sponsor of the information is transparent about their purpose in sharing information.
  • Available in full text (no abstracts-only articles).
  • Peer-reviewed - other experts and credentialed / experienced figures have reviewed and validated the work.
  • Cite sources: Include sources they used, and you can get an idea of how they arrived at their conclusion (and you can fact check).
    • Give credit to people
    • Sharing examples.
    • Multiple websites have the same information.
  • Informational, not opinionated or full of bias. Look for cited sources.
  • Objective, considering all sides of a situation.
  • Up-to-date information, if that matters for your topic.
  • Relevant to your topic (e.g., an article on cigarettes wouldn't be relevant to effects of vaping).
  • Available in full text (no abstracts-only articles).

Types of Sources

Video by Texas State University Libraries Alkek Library, August 28, 2019.

How to fact-check like a pro

Learn how to combat the problem of fake news, misinformation and disinformation! Fact-check, evaluate, and stop the spread of bad information using any and all of the tools below.

Evaluate information using The CRAP Test

CRAP Test graphic.

The CRAP Test is a helpful tool to use when deciding if a source is high-quality and credible. CRAP stands for currency, reliability, authority and purpose. These are four areas to consider when evaluating a source.

Evaluate information using The SIFT Method

Logo for the SIFT Method.

The SIFT method by Mike Caulfield provides four quick moves you can do when evaluating an online source. Learn more about using the SIFT method to sort fact from fiction related to COVID-19 at Sifting Through the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Use Fact-Checking websites

CCC Librarians' favorites are listed below.

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

Handouts and worksheets

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