Skip to main content


Jessie Ball duPont Library

Source Evaluation

Checklists for Source Evaluation

There are many different checklists for source evaluation. Some may be more helpful than others. Often these checklists ask you to make judgements about ideas that are complex or difficult to define, like authority. Think about what practical tools these checklists can give you and how you can test those tools.

CRAAP Test, Expanded

Currency

  • When was the item written, and how frequently does the publication come out?
  • Is there evidence of newly added or updated information in the item?
  • If the information is dated, is it still suitable for your topic?
  • How frequently does information change about your topic?

Relevance

  • Does the item contain information relevant to your argument or thesis?
  • Read the item's introduction, thesis, and conclusion.
  • Scan main headings and identify keywords.
  • How wide a scope does the item have? Will you use part or all of this resource?
  • Does the information presented support or refute your ideas? 
  • If the information refutes your ideas, how will this change your argument?
  • What is the material's intended audience?

Authority

  • What are the author's credentials?
  • What is the author's level of education, experience, and/or occupation?
  • What qualifies the author to write about this topic?
  • What affiliations does the author have? Could these affiliations affect their position?
  • What organization or body published the information? Is it authoritative? Does it have explicit position or bias?

Accuracy

  • Is the source well-documented? Does it include footnotes, citations, or a bibliography?
  • Is information in the source presented as fact, opinion, or propaganda? Are biases clear?
  • Can you verify information from referenced information in the source?
  • Is the information written clearly and free of typographical and grammatical mistakes? Does the source look to be edited before publication? (A clean, well-presented paper does not always indicate accuracy, but usually at least means more eyes have been on the information.)

Purpose

  • Is the author's purpose to inform, sell, persuade, or entertain?
  • Does the source have an obvious bias or prejudice?
  • Is the article presented from multiple points of view?
  • Does the author omit important facts or data that might disprove their argument?
  • Is the author's language informal, joking, emotional, or impassioned?
  • Is the information clearly supported by evidence?