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FYW: Corporate Sustainability: CRAP Test

Evaluating information

Use the CRAP Test to think about web* sources you find

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • If the information is from a website, when was the site last updated?

Reliability

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion? Is is balanced?
  • Is it provided for a hobbiest, for entertainment, or for a serious audience?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority

  • Who are the authors or creators?
  • What are their credentials? Can you find something out about them in another place?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
  • If it's from a website, does it have advertisements?

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased? Can you still use the information, even if you know there is bias?
  • Is the the site trying to sell you something, convert you to something or make you vote for someone?

*All information you find should be evaluated for  authority, and currency (ABC) but books and articles you find in the library have already gone through some screening (publishers, editors, librarians). What you find on the web must be evaluated totally by YOU!

adapted from Dominican University

Is it Refereed/Peer-Reviewed/Scholarly?

"Refereed" (also called "peer-reviewed) means that the articles in the journal are evaluated by a group of experts in the field. These experts must approve the articles before they are allowed to be published. These publications have a much higher level of scholarship and are far more trustworthy than non-refereed journals or magazines.

To help you make sure your articles are from refereed/scholarly journals AS you're searching for them, many databases have limit options. For example:

   refereed limiter  

To confirm that your journal article is from a refereed/peer-reviewed publication AFTER you already have it, check UlrichsWeb for the referee's jersey symbol next to the journal title: 

In some journals, particularly those in the sciences, you can look for "submitted/revised/accepted" dates on the first page of the article. These tell you the dates the article went through the various steps of the peer-review process.

Finally, the most authoriative place to look is the journal's website. Just Google the name of the journal. Look for a description of the journal that says "peer-reviewed" there. Also, look at the information for authors or review policy pages. These will often detail the peer-review process for each journal, including which sections of the journal are reviewed and which are merely edited.