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MEERL Program Library Guide

Research & Instruction Librarian

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Maggie Gordon
Douglas Library
Room 520
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Evaluating Information Quality

With the wealth of information available on the web, we need to make sure that we are only using good information to support our arguments and back up our decision-making. This is especially important going forward in your careers when you may not have access to library databases and the latest journal articles.

Regardless of what type of information you are looking at, you can apply the CRAAP test to determine the quality of the source. 

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The CRAAP Test

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?
  • 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 (not too elementary or not too advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is the one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in a 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?


An Alternative - RADAR

Relevance - How is the information relevant to your assignment?

Authority - Who is the author? What makes this person or organization an authoritative source?

Date - When was this information published and is the publication date important to you?

Accuracy - Where are they getting their information from? Does it have citations and references? Are they using reputable sources or explaining how they gathered their data?

Reason for writing - Why did the author publish this information? 

Mandalios. (2013). RADAR: An approach for helping students evaluate Internet sources. Journal of Information Science, 39(4), 470–478.