VCU Libraries

Research Guides

SCTS 200 Science in Society: Values, Ethics, and Politics

Critically Evaluating Websites

CRAAPP Test

When doing academic research, it's important to evaluate ALL information carefully and critically. Whether it's an article, book, website or a multimedia piece, use the criteria below to help evaluate any resource you're considering.

Currency
  • When was the information published or last updated?
  • Does publication date matter for your topic? (historical topics vs. rapidly changing fields)
  • Are links and references up to date?
  • Have newer articles been published on your topic?
Relevance
  • Is the information relevant to your topic?
  • Is the information too techincal or too simplified for you to use?
  • How in depth is the material? Does it add something new to your understanding?
  • Would this source be a suitable addition to an academic research paper?
Authority
  • Is the author formally educated in the subject area? Do they have a history of research/writings in the subject area?
  • Is the author affiliated with a university, research center or other respected institution?
  • Can you find information about the author? Do other authors cite the author?
Accuracy
  • Are there statements you know to be false? Are there errors in spelling, punctuation or grammer?
  • Was the information reviewed by editors or subject experts?
  • Are claims, viewpoints, arguments and conclusions reasonable?
  • Is the content supported by authoritave sources? Are the sources cited?
Publication
  • Is the publisher a trustworthy organization, like a university press, scholarly society or government organization?
  • To what extent are advertisements used in the publication?
  • What is the mission or goal of the publisher? Can you find it?
Purpose
  • Is the author's purpose to shock, sell, persuade, entertain, or inform?
  • Is there an obvious bias or prejudice? Are alternative points of view presented?
  • Does the author omit facts or data that might disprove their claim?
  • Does the author use strong or emotional language?