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Critical Thinking Strategies

How to Evaluate Sources

The CRAP Test* provides valid criteria and a memorable mnemonic. Think about these criteria when evaluating claims.

Currency - timeliness
  • When was the information published or last updated?
  • Have newer articles been published?
  • Is the topic in an area that changes rapidly, like technology, health, or science?
Reliability - accuracy
  • Are there statements you know to be false?
  • Was the information reviewed by subject experts?
  • What references support the author’s claims?
 Authority - the source
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor of the source?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
Purpose - the reason
  • Is the purpose of the source to sell, persuade, or inform?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?
  • Are alternative points of view presented?
  • Does the author use strong or emotional language?

* The CRAP Test was developed by librarian Molly Beestrum, Dominican University. Another version of the CRAP Test, the CRAAP Test, can be found on the Duquesne University Library website.

Evaluating Bias

Resources & Models for Practice