One way to evaluate a source of information is to apply the CRAAP Test developed at Cal State University at Chico. Use the initials to remind you to evaluate your source in terms of:
Currency - When was the information published? What time period is the information about? Do you need this information to be up to date?
Relevancy - How useful is this information to you? To what breadth and depth is the topic covered?
Authority - Who provided this information? Is the individual or organization an expert on the topic?
Accuracy - Is the information backed up with sound evidence? Has the information been reviewed by others for quality?
Purpose or Point of View - Why was this information provided in this way? What point-of-view does the information source have about the topic?
You can view or download a rubric to help you evaluate information sources, called Thinking Critically about Web Information: Applying the CRAAP Test (Lamar State College Library).
Note: You should NOT need to read very much of the item you are evaluating! Read only as much as you need to answer the basic questions in the worksheet. You can tell a lot from a title, abstract or table of contents, first paragraph, bibliography, and publication information. A quick search of a name in Google Scholar or a library database can often tell you more. Sometimes, you just have to make an educated guess if you’re not certain.
These six, one-word questions are an excellent way to help you evaluate an information source:
Who wrote/created this information, and who are they in terms of this information and in this context? Who is this information for? Who benefits?
What is the source? What format? What are the facts? What is covered, and what isn't? What is the main point? What conclusions does it provide? What evidence does it provide?
When was this information gathered, posted, or published? Which "when" is the information about? Is that time period useful to you? Is it old enough or recent enough?
Where (a physical place or otherwise) was the information gathered, posted, or published? Which "where" is the information about?
Why does this information source exist? Why is it provided in this way?
How was the information gathered or created? How was it analyzed? How is it presented?