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ENGL 101/111 Research Guide

Put It To the CRAP test!


The CRAP Test, developed by Molly Beestrum*, is a helpful tool to use when trying to decide if a website is a credible, valid source. The CRAP Test looks at four major areas: currency, reliability, authority and purpose. When determining whether a website is credible or not, evaluate it on those four areas. Here are a few suggestions to help you think through your evaluation process. The CRAP test works for articles you find in journals or books. too! 


  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?


  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is is balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?


  • Who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials? Can you find any information about the author's background?
  • Who is the published or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website? If so, are they cleared marked?

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this fact or opinion? Does the author list sources or cite references?
  • Is it biased? Does the author seem to be trying to push an agenda or particular side?
  • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something? If so, is it clearly stated?

* The C.R.A.P. Test was created by librarian Molly Beestrum at Dominican University and adapted by the LOEX wiki.

Scholarly vs. Popular Periodicals

Discover the difference between articles from scholarly journals and popular magazines/newspapers and find out why articles from scholarly journals are considered more authoritative.

(Courtesy of the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University)