Skip to main content

A Research IDEA: ASSESS

A teaching guide for research

Assess: Critically Assess the Content of Your Resources

  • Identify and look for markers of authority when finding information. 
  • Determine how authoritative information should be for a particular need. 
  • Be aware of the importance of assessing content critically to the best of your ability.
  • Be willing to analyze needs at the beginning, middle and end of information searches. 
  • Differentiate between primary and secondary sources, scholarly versus lay sources.

Use this CRAP Test Worksheet to Evaluate Your Sources

Use the following list to help you evaluate sources.  Answer the questions as appropriate for each source, with 0 = Bad resource, 1 = Maybe, and 2 = Good resource. If the question does not apply to that particular resource, select 1.  Add up the scores to give you an idea of whether you should use the resource (and whether your instructor would want you to!)

C URRENCY: the timeline of the information

  • Is there a date to help you determine when the information was published or posted?   0 1 2
  • If the information is older, has it been revised or updated?   0 1 2
  • Does it fit within the assignment parameters? (Does your instructor only want sources 2-years-old or newer?)   0 1 2
  • Is the information current for your specific topic?   0 1 2
  • Are the links functional?   0 1 2

R ELEVANCE: the importance of the information for your need.

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?   0 1 2
  • Can you tell who the intended audience is?   0 1 2
  • Is the information at an appropriate level for you (not written for elementary school students)?   0 1 2
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before choosing this one?   0 1 2
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?   0 1 2

A UTHORITY: the source of the information

  • Is there an author/publisher/source/sponsor?   0 1 2
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?   0 1 2
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?   0 1 2
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?   0 1 2
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?   0 1 2
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source?   0 1 2

P URPOSE: the reason the information exists​

  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?   0 1 2
  • Is the information fact(2), opinion(1), or propaganda(0)?   0 1 2
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?   0 1 2
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the purpose of the web page? 
                 Domains: .com .edu .gov .org .net    0 1 2

Total  

 

Key 

35-40 -- Excellent source

30-35 -- Good source

25-29 -- Average source

20-24 -- Borderline acceptable

20 and below -- Unacceptable