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.