Evaluating Information on the Web

It is not always easy to determine if information on the World Wide Web is credible. However, using the guidelines below (C.R.R.A.P.P.) will help you in making that evaluation.

Criteria Questions to Ask
CURRENCY
 
  • When was this page created?
  • Is there a creation or revision date?
  • Do the links work?
  • Is the page being maintained and new material added?
  • Is it important that this page be current, given my subject?
RELEVANCE
 
  • Does the article improve your understanding of the issue?
  • Is the article lengthy enough to be worthy of inclusion?
  • Does all of the article apply to your topic?
RELIABILITY
 
  • Is the content mostly opinion or is it stating facts?
  • Are there sloppy errors, such as bad grammar, misspelling, etc. which might indicate hastiness?
  • Does the author provide references for or sources of facts, data, or quotations?
  • Is the information complete or fragmented?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source of information?
  • Is the author relying on primary or secondary sources of information?
  • Can you confirm what the author is saying in another source?
AUTHORITY
 
  • Who is the author of this page?
  • What are their credentials?
  • Can you find more information about the author somewhere else?
  • What institution are they affiliated with?
  • Can you find more information about their institution somewhere else?
PURPOSE
 
  • What is the purpose of this page?
  • Does the author intend to persuade you of something? Teach? Inform? Entertain? Provoke an emotional response? 
  • Does the author or the sponsoring organization state the goals for this site?
POINT OF VIEW
  • If the author is affiliated with an institution (government, university, business, organization, etc), does this affiliation bias the information presented?
  • If you search for the name of the author or their institution, can you find any evidence about what they stand for?

Remember to ask yourself:
"Is the Web the best place for this type of information, or would a print source from an electronic database be a better choice?"
Ask a Reference Librarian if you are unsure.