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Research Guide

How to do research for an academic paper

The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP test is a list of criteria that you can use to evaluate a resouce.

= currency refers to the timeliness of the information. When was the information created or updated?
Are you researching a topic that requires current information, or not? 

= relevance and coverage refers to the depth and importance of the information. Does the information answer your research question? Does it address all of the important components of your topic?

A = authority refers to the source of the information. Can you tell who is responsible for the information? Are they a credible source on this subject? Do they have valid credentials?

A = accuracy refers to the reliability of the information. Are there citations to reputable sources for the information? Do you see spelling or grammatical errors? 

P  = purpose and objectivity refers to potential bias in the information. Is the purpose of the information to inform or to persuade? Are there political, religious, institutional or personal biases? Are there opinions interjected in the information?

Evaluating Your Sources and Topic

When you get to this point in the process, you will evaluate the information gathered so far and ask yourself if you're on the right track towards answering your original research questions. Have you been able to gather enough information sources? Have you found way too much information? Is the information you've gathered relevant, helpful and on target? Quite possibly, you may discover at this point that your topic or your search strategy needs to be tweaked or redesigned. This would be a great time to ask your instructor or librarian for assistance.