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National Center for Agricultural Literacy

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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.

Resources & Models for Practice