- Scan the perimeter of the page for information about the creators of the page, the purpose of the page, and when the page was last updated. Look for links such as "About Us" or "Contact Us."
- If you cannot find an author or publisher for the page, you can try truncating the URL. In the web address box, delete the end characters of the URL stopping just before each / (leave the backslash). Then, press enter to see if you can learn more about the author or the origins/nature of the site providing the page.
- Look at the domain name of websites. The domain name of the site can give you an indication of possible bias. For example, a .com is, by definition, a commercial site so they may be trying to sell you something. This is not to say that all or even most .coms are unreliable, because that is certainly not true.
Government sites: .gov or .mil
Educational sites: .edu, but note that these can also include personal student and faculty pages
Nonprofit sites: .org
Commercial sites: .com
- Pay attention to the style of the language used on the site. Is it balanced and professional with both sides of the issue covered, or does the language seem inflammatory or biased?
- Some of our databases like CQ Researcher and Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center include a selection of recommended websites for each topic.
- Have you checked your assignment? Some faculty ave requirements for using websites for research.
Because not all information is good information, this handy checklist is useful when evalulating a web resource (or ANY resource). CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. The test provides a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a source is reliable and credible enough to use in your academic research paper.
Note: the CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico.
The original design from the Meriam Library, California State University-Chico. September 17, 2010.
Includes the CARS Checklist; website by Robert Harris. Last updated January 21, 2015.
Short YouTube video explaining how to evaluate sources using the CRAAP test.
Purdue Owl-Citing Electionic Sources