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ENGL 101- English Composition I- Doherty

Class research guide

Evaluating Web Information

Why is it important to evaluate information you find when you use Google (or another search engine)?

  • Anyone can post information to the Web
  • There is no guarantee that the information you find has been checked for accuracy
  • Because there is so much information available online, you need strategies for deciding which is the best information to use

Getting Information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant poster

"information overload" by SparkCBC on flickr at (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What is the CRAAP Test?

  • The CRAAP Test was originally developed at California State University, Chico.

  • CRAAP is an acronym in which each letter represents one of five criteria which can be considered when deciding if information is credible to use for research and academic writing. It is particularly important to critically evaluate Web sources before using them.

    • Currency

    • Relevance

    • Authority

    • Accuracy

    • Purpose

  • The graphic below (from Humber Libraries at Humber College) lists the criteria. (

CRAAP Test Criteria

  • The following rubric is useful for deciding on the value and quality of a website for research. It was developed by the Ron E. Lewis Library at Lamar State College--Orange.

Types of "Fake News" -- See the HACC Library "Fake News" LibGuide for More Information and Tips 

Imposter News Sites

These websites are designed to look like legitimate sites and incorporate some facts into their stories, but the articles are false. They are an attempt to convince readers to pass the news on as if it were true. These fake news sites get revenue from the ads you see on the page.


Real News Right Now


Satire websites not really "fake news". These sites that may be topical, but the stories are not real. They are meant to be humorous, not to deceive the reader.

The Onion


Clickbait and Hoaxes

These websites also have bits of true stories but insinuate and make up other details to create an emotional response, typically anger or fear. Most of these are conspiratorial in nature, are very unreliable, and frequently shared on social media.  The stories often feature outrageous headlines in all capital letters.

The Daily Sheeple


Web Extension Meaning/What it Stands For
.com commercial
.gov government
.edu educational institution
.org organization
.mil military
Watch out for often used by fake news sites


Types of URLs and Their Uses

URL Type of Information
.com (commercial) Commercial sites, ads, business info, shopping, news
.edu (education) School info, links to librarian and departments
.gov (government) Statistics, public info, facts, agency databases.
.org (organization) Non-profit information, interest group agendas, may try to influence public opinion
.net (network) Internet service provider, often sponsors personal sites

URL= Uniform Resource Locator

More than 100 URLs exist

List of URLs


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.