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ENGL 110-Foundations in Professional Writing-Shepard: Website Evaluation

CRAAP Test

Unlike books and scholarly databases, anyone can create a website or edit a Wikipedia entry. Websites can provide quick and up-to-the-minute information, however, not all of the information is true or trustworthy.  Applying a simple test is important to evaluate if the sites you are using qualify as good research. Analyze websites for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.
CRAAP test

Currency or the timeliness of the web page

  • When was the information posted?
  • When was it last updated?
  • Are there more recent websites or articles?
  • Are links working and up-to-date? Broken links mean a site is not being taken care of and is not a good site.

When choosing between similar websites, try to pick the more recent one to use.

Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.

Relevance or uniqueness of the content and its importance for your needs

  • Does this site talk about your topic?
  • Can you find the same or better information somewhere else?
  • Who is this website for? Make sure it is the same as the kind of people you are writing for.

Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.

Authority or the source of the web page

  • Can you tell who is the author or creator?
  • Can you tell the author is an expert?
    • Do they list where they work or talk about their connection to the topic?
    • Is there contact information for the author?
  • What is the type of website? (.edu and .gov are the best for research)

Never ever use a source if you can't tell who the author is or why you should trust wha they say.

Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.

Accuracy or reliability or truthfulness

  • Where does the information come from? Does the author cite their sources?
  • Do your other sources support what this site is saying?
  • Are there spelling or grammar errors?

Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.

Purpose or the reason the website exists

  • To entertain you?
  • To inform or explain something you?
  • To persuade you?
  • To sell you something? Are there a lot of ads?

The best sources try to inform or explain.

Modified version of CRAAP Test created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.

Types of Top Level Domains and their Uses

As a starting point for evaluating websites, one might use the part of the web address immediately after the "dot" (for example, .com) to try to determine the reliability of the information. This part of the address (or URL) is called a "top-level domain" that someone asks to have when creating their website. The websites you most frequently visit have top-level domains, or TLDs, that likely fall into one of the following categories:

  • Country Codes - two letter representation for a country, individual countries determine who may receive a wesbite within their country code
  • Unrestricted - three or more letter, no requirements necessary for a website ending with these TLDs
  • Sponsored - three or more letters, a Sponsoring organization determines what requirements must be met and regulates whether they are met before allowing that website to exist.
This table provides some common top-level domains, the category they fall into, and their typical usage
TLD Category A site with this TLD can be registered by...
.com Unrestricted Anyone
.edu Sponsored An accredited US-based college or university approved by EDUCAUSE
.gov Sponsored federal, state, or local governments within the US approved by an independent government agency
.net Unrestricted Anyone
.org Unrestricted Anyone
.va Country Code officials of the Vatican
.za Country Code mainly South African citizens and businesses, but no policy excludes others from registering