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Finding credible sources

This guide will help you determine the credibility of an information source.

The CRAP Test

Have your professors asked you to find credible, reliable information resources for a paper or project? The next time you are looking at a webpage or an article from a database and wondering if the information is accurate and credible, use the CRAP Test to decide.


Use the CRAP Test to help determine if your information source is credible.


  1. Current - When was it written or updated last?  
  2. Reliable - Where did the information come from? Is there evidence to back it up or just anecdotes?
  3. Authority - Who wrote it? Are they experts or authorities about this topic?
  4. Purpose - Why was it created? What's the purpose? Does it seem biased, one-sided, sensational? Is it an editorial or opinion piece, trying to persuade, or to sell something? Or fact-based, objective, trying to inform?


When you think about currency, you are focusing on the timeliness of the information.

  1. When was the information published or posted?
  2. Does the time period that the information was published matter in relation to your topic?
  3. When was the information last revised, edited, updated? (online often found in the footer area)
  4. If reviewing a web source, are the links current or are they broken?


reliabilityReliability means that the organization(s) that sponsored, supported, or published the information source have a reputation for quality and integrity. This can be a journal, book publisher, movie studio, any kind of organization that puts information out on a website, etc.

  1. Who wrote it?
  2. When was it written?
  3. Who published it?

You can learn a lot about an information source by looking at the organization(s) responsible for producing it. Some questions to ask when encountering non-scholarly information sources:

  • Is their reputation for putting out good information their first priority, or do they have other priorities? In particular, be wary of any organization that is trying to sell something, raise money for something, win an election, win a court battle, win a war or win a battle of public opinion.


Authority means that the creator of the information source is an expert in the field

  1. Can you tell who wrote it? If the author is not identified who is the sponsor, publisher, or organization behind the information?
  2. Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations listed?
  3. Is contact information available?
  4. Is the source reputable?


PurposeThe reason the information exists:

  1. What is the purpose of the information? Inform? Teach? Sway opinion? Sell? Entertain?
  2. Can you determine possible bias? If you can are they clearly stated or do they become apparent through a close reading?
  3. Does the point of view appear objective?
  4. Does the site provide information or does it attempt to debunk other information? (Weighing positive evidence versus negative evidence)

The information in this section is adapted and expanded from "Information Literacy Research Skill Building: The CRAAP Test" from WSU Libraries and  "Information Literacy Tutorial: Credible Sources" from the NCC A. Holly Patterson Library. Icons made by Freepik from