The CRAP Test
"Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him."
Ernest Hemingway, Atlantic Monthly interview, August 1954
You apply this test every day on things family and friends tell you, so why not use it on information you find for your research papers? The CRAP test is easy! Here are the criteria.
- How recent is the information?
- If a website, how recently has it been updated?
- Is the information current enough for your topic?
- What kind of information is included in this material or website?
- Is the content of the material expressing an opinion? Is the information balanced?
- Does the author or creator provide references for data or quotations?
- Who is the author or creator of the material and what are their credentials?
- Who is sponsoring this website? What is the primary mission of the sponsor?
- Are they reputable?
PURPOSE or POINT OF VIEW
- What is the intent of the article or material? Persuade you? Sell you something?
- For web sources, what is the domain (i.e. .org, com. edu) and how may that influence the type of material and its point of view?
- Are there advertisements on the page and how do they relate to the topic being covered? For example, is there an ad for a weight loss over the counter drug located next to an article on the fastest ways to lose those extra pounds?
Use this test often and be a cautious information consumer!
Browse through this article, reading enough so that you will be able to answer the CRAP test questions: