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 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?