Last Updated: Jun 27, 2023 Views: 24205

Evaluating a source by accuracy means that you are asking: Is the information provided correct?

When considering accuracy, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has the source been edited or peer-reviewed?
  • Has the author supplied a list of references for their work? Does the list of references include scholarly sources?
  • Is the information provided verifiable? What does this source off compared to other sources?
  • Is the language or tone opinion based or does it contain facts and statistics?
  • Does the source include spelling or grammatical errors? Is the source logical, well organized, and professional in appearance?
  • Is the information crowd sourced or vulnerable to changes by other authors or non-experts (e.g. Wikipedia or another public wiki)?

Where should you look to determine the accuracy of a source?

Print & Database Sources

  • Read the source's reference list (if available)
  • Find out more about the publisher, journal, etc. via their websites, information provided with the source, etc.
  • Examine source in full text (PDF or original print is preferable) for errors, organization, opinions, etc.


  • If using an article or blog on a website, read the reference list (if available)
  • Look at the "About Us" section of the website to find out more about the website's author(s), affiliations, submission and editorial process, etc.
  • Examine the website and web pages you will be using for errors, organization, opinions, etc.

What to avoid:

  • Sources that have no reference list and/or that have not gone through any type of editorial or peer-review process (unless you are seeking non-scholarly materials
  • Sources with grammatical or spelling errors
  • Sources that are vulnerable to changes by other authors or non-experts (e.g. Wikipedia

The C.R.A.A.P. Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee (University of California at Chico, Meriam Library). With her permission, this content was based off her original text with some modification.

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