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Evaluating Web Sites

Swim at your own risk - no librarian on duty!

When you are using our subscription databases you can be absolutely certain that the material on offer is excellent. When you're out in the real world using web sites found via search engines (Yahoo, Google etc), there's no guarantee that the results will be good enough for research. Anyone can put up a web page, and there is no list of pre-determined criteria for sites to conform to. The CRAAP Test was developed by the Librarians at Meriam Library, California State University. "CRAAP" is an acronym for the 5 criteria for evaluation. The CRAAP Test video was proudly developed by the Law Librarians at the University of Waikato!

Criteria for evaluation

The CRAAP Test video

Currency: The timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: 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 level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this sourcein your research paper?

Accuracy: 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 any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Authority: The source of the information

  • Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • 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

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 / sponsors make their intentions or 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?
gif maker

The Law Librarians at the University of Waikato composed a song around the Meriam Librarians' five criteria for web evaluation, as outlined above. We then recorded the song as a video, along with our own images - and a certain member of our Law Library
team has a starring role.

We think you'll enjoy the video!
It runs for just over 2 minutes.