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ENGL 314: Technical Communication

Course guide for English 314: Technical Communication

Evaluating Internet Resources

What the CRAP! - A Guide for Evaluating Information

One of the big challenges when looking at information sources is deciding whether or not something is CRAP!

When looking at information sources, use the CRAP test to evaluate your source. It's a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. These criteria work equally well with printed material, electronic resources or social media.

The MORE of these elements your source has, the less likely it is to be CRAP!


The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • If your source is a website, do all the links work? If not, the page may be out-of-date.


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 too basic, or too advanced for your needs?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?


The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • If your source is a website, does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
    (examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net)

Purpose/ Point of View

The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Kushkowski, English 302, Spring 2015. Adapted from Pellack, "What the C.R.A.P?" English 250, Fall 2013, and CSU Chico, "CRAAP Test: Evaluate Your Resources."