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How Do I Evaluate Sources?

Evaluate Information

Not all information is good or acceptable for your research.

The T.R.A.A.P. Test* provides criteria to evaluate your sources of information. Even if you use "scholarly" articles, you still need to question their value to you and your work. ALWAYS EVALUATE ANY SOURCE.


*(Adapted from various versions in the LibGuides Community, infoLab, and California State University, Chico)

T.R.A.A.P. Test

The T.R.A.A.P. Test

Evaluate Sources Based on the Following Criteria:

Timeliness, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose/Point of View

  • Timeliness
    • When was the information published or posted?
    • Has the information been revised or updated? When? Recently?
    • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • Relevance
    • Does the information relate to your topic?
    • Does the information meet the stated requirements of the assignment?
    • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
    • Who is the intended audience?
    • What kind of information is included in the resource?
    • Is better information available elsewhere?


    • Is the information accurate?
    • Are there spelling, grammar or other typographical errors?
    • Where does the information come from?
    • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
  • Authority
    • Who is the creator or author?
    • What are the credentials or qualifications to write on the topic?
    • Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable?
    • Is there contact information, such as publisher or email address?
    • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? (examples: .com, .edu, .org, .net, .gov)
  • Purpose/Point of View
    • What is the purpose of the information? To inform? Teach? Sell? Entertain? Persuade?
    • Is the information fact? Opinion? Propaganda?
    • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
    • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

(Adapted from various versions in the LibGuides Community, infoLab, and California State University, Chico)