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Literature search: CRAAP: quality assessment

Overall guide for literature search

The use of CRAAP

The CRAAP test is a method to evaluate a source by answering questions regarding the separate elements of CRAAP: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose.


This image of CRAAP was developed by the University of Toronto Libraries(CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).

The CRAAP test was created by Sarah Blakeslee, of the University of California at Chico's Meriam Library (CC BY 4.0)

Elements of CRAAP

Currency: timeliness of the information

  • When was it written, published, and/or last revised?
  • Are you looking at the most recent version?
  • If applicable, do all the links work?

Relevance: importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • What is the intended audience?
  • Does it provide evidence or support your ideas?
  • Does it add anything to your work in comparison to other sources?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?

Authority: source of the information

  • What are the author's qualifications? What are those of the publishing party?
  • Who produced the information or what organization are the author(s) affiliated with?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email adress?
  • If the material is protected by copyright, is the name of the copyright holder given?

Accuracy: reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content

  • Is the factual information verifiable with complete references?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Can you verify part of the information by other sources of personal knowledge?
  • Has the information been peer-reviewed or refereed?
  • Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and other errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? e.g entertain, inform, opinion, marketing, etc..
  • What is the intent of the author and/or organization? Does it appear objective?
  • Does the information acknowledge other perspectives or conflicting information?
  • Are there political, religious, ideological, cultural, institutional or personal biases?

Exemplary answers to the elements of CRAAP


  • This publication is written 10 years ago
  • This news article came out last week
  • This version of the book is from 1990, the newest version is from 2015
  • The link to this governmental website doesn't work anymore


  • The intended audience of this publication is academic reseachers
  • This governmental document explains the policy I'm researching
  • This is an opinion letter written by a scientist
  • This survey provides recent data for my research


  • This publication is written by a PhD and a professor in the field
  • This website belongs to a governmental organization
  • The opinion on this website may be promoted by a company
  • If I want to ask a question about this press release I can send an e-mail to this adress


  • This article is published in a peer-reviewed journal of a relevant field
  • This publication has a complete reference list and proper in-text citations
  • The news article is based on a story I cannot verify
  • This opinion letter is poorly written


  • This is a review article which combines information from other publications
  • This opinion article is written by an environmental activist
  • The financial expert advises to buy stocks from this company
  • This publication is written in relation to another publication of the same author

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