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General Library Research Tutorial

This guide provides access to instructional videos and instructions to provide an overview for starting research at the Library.

Evaluating Sources for Credibility

This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.

Published June 2015

Evaluating Resources


Use the following criteria to evaluate resource credibility.


Independent sources are preferable to self-interested sources.

  • Intellectually independent?
  • Politically neutral?
  • Financial interests at stake?
  • Are family or friends involved?

Multiple sources are preferable to a report based on a single source.

  • Is the information coming from several different sources?

Sources that Verify or provide verifiable information are preferable to those who merely assert.

  • Are the sources' claims verified?
  • Are the claims verifiable?
  • Do the sources offer opinions, inferences or hunches without corroboration?

Authoritative and/or Informed sources are preferable to sources who are uninformed or lack authoritative background.

  • Do the sources have appropriate knowledge?
  • Do the sources have the appropriate credentials?

Named sources are better than anonymous ones.

  • Are the sources fully identified?
  • Do the sources speak on record?
  • Is it an anonymous source?


Stony Brook Center for News Literacy

Evaluating Information - CRAAP test


Use the following criteria to evaluate information resources for credibility.


Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

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 the one you will use?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given? If yes, what are they?
  • What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a phone number or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? (e.g. com, .edu, .gov, .org)
  • Is there an About or About Us section?

Accuracy: the reliability and truthfulness of the information

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem objective or free of emotion?
  • Are there obvious errors (spelling, grammar)?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? To inform? Teach? Sell? Entertain? Persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? Opinion? Propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, cultural, religious or personal biases?