WRTG 121

Why do I need to evaluate information?

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it. But is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. 


Information can be evaluated by looking at these five criteria: 

  • Currency: The timeliness of the information
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs
  • Authority: The source of the information
  • Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content
  • Purpose: The reason the information exists

See our guide on evaluating sources for more information on this process. 


For evaluating news sources, take a look at this Media Bias Chart (static version can be found here.) 


Reliability of Sources

Reliability of sources tutorial screenshotReliability of Sources discusses what makes information reliable and explores one model for evaluating reliability (CRAAP). You'll learn to point out and apply criteria that can be used to judge the reliability of information.

Wikipedia in a Nutshell

Wikipedia: Why do my instructors say NO?
  • Articles may be heavily biased, incomplete, or vandalized. 
  • May contain obvious oversights or omissions.
  • Many contributors do not cite their sources.
  • Bibliographies are frequently incomplete or out-of-date.
  • Credentials of authors vary.
  • Continually edited - >100,000 edits/day.
  • Can propagate misinformation

Wikipedia: How can I use it well?
  • Useful for background information.
  • Contains many viable links and references.
  • Excels in topics on current events, popular culture,  emerging technology, and obscure subjects.
  • Don’t CITE it! Cite sources it links to, if you find them to be credible, accurate, useful, etc. 

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First Year Experience & Children's Literature Librarian

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Sarah Fabian
121A Halle Library