Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

How to Write a Research Paper: Evaluating Sources

Step by step description of how to write a research paper

C.R.A.A.P. Evaluation Tool

Ask yourself the following questions about each website you are considering: 


  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you locate a date when the page(s) were written/created/updated?
  • Does the website appear to update automatically (this could mean no one is actually looking at it)? 
  • Based on your topic, is it current enough?

Example website: GenoClinic


  • What kind of information is included in the website?
  • Based on your other research, is it accurate and complete?
  • Is the content primarily fact or opinion?
  • Is the information balanced or biased?
  • Does the author provide references for quotations and data?
  • If there are links, do they work?

Example website: OncoLink


  • Is the information in the resource reliable?
  • Are the author's claims supported by evidence?
  • Has the content been reviewed by other experts? Is it a peer-reviewed resource?
  • Are the language and tone biased?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors? 


  • Can you determine who the author/creator is? 
  • Is there a way to contact them?
  • What are their credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc)?
  • Is there evidence they are expects in the subject? 
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor of the site?
  • Is this publisher/sponsor reputable?

Example website: Quackwatch

Purpose/Point of View

  • What's the intent of the website (to persuade, to sell you something, etc.)?
  • What is the domain (.edu, org, .com, etc.)? How might that influence the purpose/point of view?
  • Are there ads on the website? How do they relate to the topic being covered?
  • Is the author presenting fact or opinion?
  • Who might benefit from a reader believing this website? 
  • Based on the writing style, who is the intended audience?

Example website: Presidential Elections

C.R.A.P. Test in Action: Articles

C.R.A.P. Test in Action: Websites