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WR122 Ormandy

Research help to support WR 122

Evaluate information using the CRAP Test

Abe Lincoln, president and CCC alumEvaluating information is especially important when completing academic research assignments in college 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 high-quality and credible. CRAP stands for currency, reliability, authority and purpose. These are the four areas you'll consider when evaluating a source.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you go through the evaluation process.


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


  • Is there a works cited or references list? Or links to outside sources?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources data, quotations, or images?
  • Is the information accurate and well-edited?
  • Was the item reviewed by experts?
  • What kind of information is included in the resource?


  • Who is 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

  • Is the information fact or opinion?
  • Is the information biased? Do the author or publisher seem to be pushing an agenda or particular side?
  • Is the author/publisher trying to sell you something? Are there advertisements? If so, are they clearly stated?
  • Who is the intended audience? Is the author trying to reach experts, the general public, children, retirees, veterans, etc.?
  • Does this resource require in-depth knowledge for you to understand? Does it use words or phrases that you might have to look up? Would it be confusing if you didn't know anything about the topic?
CRAP Test adapted from Beestrum, M., & Orenic, K. (2008). The CRAP test. Available from
Abe adapted from public domain photo Abraham Lincoln [image]. (1863). Available from

CRAP test worksheets

Scholarly and popular sources

Scholarly and Popular Sources from Carnegie Vincent on Youtube.

Check your understanding:

  • What part of a scholarly article summarizes the main points?
  • Are newspapers scholarly or popular? Why?
  • What is it called when an article is reviewed by experts?
  • What clues in scholarly articles indicate that the author is an expert?
  • What do the footnotes and bibliography allow readers to do?
  • What are some ways you can visually identify a popular source?

What does peer reviewed mean?

Peer-reviewed articles are published with the intent of sharing new research and information from specialized fields with researchers, professionals, and students. The process of peer review helps to ensure that each published article is unique, accurate, credible, and objective. Peer-reviewed articles can be published in print journals, online journals, and academic and research organizations’ websites.

Characteristics of a Peer-Reviewed Article

  • Information is organized into sections with headings: Abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, results, discussion, and references.
  • Usually long and in-depth; 10-20 pages is normal.
  • Includes graphs or tables but few, if any, images or advertisements.
  • Includes specialized or field-specific language.
  • Information is presented objectively, without bias.
  • Includes reference lists and in-text citations.
  • Published quarterly or semi-annually.


  • Inform other scholars and students in higher education of new research and findings.


  • Experts in their fields: researchers conducting primary research, practitioners, professors and scholars. Credentials are either provided in the article or easy to access.
  • Often an organization will publish a journal (e.g., the American Medical Association publishes JAMA and the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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