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Databases, Articles, Images, Ebooks and more Online Resources: CRAAP test - Evaluating sources outside of databases

This guide is about databases and other credible online resources at ECC Library. A list by subject, alphabetical or by type is included as well as tips and tutorial for certain databases such as EBSCO and Opposing Viewpoints.

Website Domains

.COM - commercial

  • .com originally identified for-profit company websites
  • These pages can be sponsored by individuals or non-profit organizations
  • .com sites are often sources of reliable information, but not necessarily

.EDU - education

  • Most official .edu pages would be considered reliable sources 
  • A tilde (~) in the URL usually indicates a student or faculty member's personal webpage 

.GOV - government

  • Includes U.S. state, federal, and military information
  • Domain names reflect the organization names in the Federal Government & non- Federal government entities in the United States; Used to promote government services.

.ORG - organizations

  • Are not necessarily a non-profit organization
  • Often contain excellent information, but many are created in support of a specific position or agenda.

.NET - network

  • Generic and miscellanous sites
  • Often used when .com is not available

CRAAP Test - Current, Relevant, Accurate, Authority, Purpose

Information about almost any subject is easy to find; however, not all information is good information. An essential part of academic research and writing is learning how to critically analyze and evaluate sources to eliminate old, incorrect, or irrelevant information. The CRAAP Test (current, relevant, accurate, authority, purpose) is a guide for analyzing your research sources, including websites, articles and books. Here is a link to an accessible PDF of this information.


By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1=worst, 10=best possible), you can give each site a grade on a 50 point scale.


45-50 Excellent 

40-44 Good 

35-39 Average 

30-34 Borderline

Below 30-Unacceptable

Current: The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • When was it revised or updated?
  • Do you require current information, or will older sources work?
  • Are the links functional?

 Relevant: 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 college level?
  • Are you confident in the source to cite in your paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Is the author qualified on this topic, what are their credentials?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
  • examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

 Accurate: The reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content.

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify information in another source?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

 Purpose: The reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors make their 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?

This information has been adapted from "Evaluating Information-Applying the CRAAP Test" by the staff at Meriam Library, California State University-Chico. The source material can be accessed here.
"Evaluating Information-Applying the CRAAP Test." 17 Sept. 2010. Meriam Lib., California State University-Chico. CSU-Chico ReSEARCH Station. Web. 2 July 2013.