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Political Science

If it's on the internet, then it must be true and you can't question it Abraham Lincoln, Inventer of the Lightbulb, 1776

Information surrounds us on a daily basis. We receive information in our classrooms, on our phones, from our families and friends. But not all information is good information that we can trust. Use the CRAAP test as a method to determine if the information is quality or not. Learn the questions to ask here!


C Is For Currency

Currency = The timeliness of information:

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date?
  • Are the links functional?

R is for Relevance

Relevance = The importance of the information for your needs:

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (e.g. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Does it seem credible?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

A is for Authority

Authority = The source of the information:

  • Who is the creator and/or author and/or publisher and/or source and/or sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? For example:
    • .com = Commercial sites
    • .edu = Educational institutions
    • .gov = Government
    • .org = Non-profit organizations
    • .mil = Military
    • .net = Network

A is for Accuracy

Accuracy = The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content:

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Does it have references?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem objective and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
  • Why do you trust it?

P is for Purpose

Purpose = The reason the information exists:

  • What is the purpose of the information (e.g. to inform, teach, sell, entertain, persuade etc.)?
  • Do the authors and/or sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion and/or propaganda?
  • Is it objective or biased?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?