When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it...but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.
Currency: The 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?
Relevance: The 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 (i.e. not too basic or too advanced for your needs)?
- Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
- Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority: The 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
Accuracy: The 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?
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
- 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?
Tips on How to Search
Finding a quality website is not always easy! The librarians at the College of Marin have many tips to help you search. Use the boxes on this page to evaluate the websites for quality.
If you have used the information on this page and you're still not sure if the source is from a quality website, ask a librarian or your professor about it!
Websites by "Domain"
The "domain" provides information about what type of website you are viewing. The doman can by found by looking at the URL of a website.
- .com is a commercial website
- .edu is a website associated with a school
- .gov is a government website
- .mil is a military website
- .org is a non-profit or organization's website
Can you think about how information might vary among these different kinds of websites?
Websites to Avoid
Here some sites that are NOT helpful for college level research:
CRAAP Test Worksheet
This CRAAP Test worksheet can be filled out for any website that a student uses to help decide if the website is appropriate for college-level research.