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Evaluating Sources of Information

Sources should be considered for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, objectivity and purpose.

Conceptual Frameworks

Numerous conceptual frameworks have been developed for evaluating sources of information. A few are shown here. It is important to consider currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, objectivity and purpose for any source of information, whether from an individual or a news source. Applying critical thinking skills can help determine the truth and value of information.


A popular framework for evaluating sources has been the CRAAP test. 

  • Currency
  • Relevance
  • Authority
  • Accuracy
  • Purpose

Applying the CRAAP Test Video

(California State University, Chico, 2010)

Evaluating Sources by Rhetorical Analysis

Joel Burkholder (2012) argues that messages are not "inert objects" but "dynamic, social acts."  Students who examine relationships among author, purpose, audience, and context—a process called rhetorical analysis--can describe and evaluate the actions performed by each message. See more in this handout.

CT Wheel

A holistic form of evaluating information--and decisionmaking in general--can be found in the critical thinking wheel below:

Larger view of the wheel

(Paul & Elder, 2007)   


In his 1998 article "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction," Kapoun presents an evaluative criteria used by many teaching professionals. His criteria includes the following:

  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Objectivity
  • Currency
  • Coverage

(Cornell University Libraries, 2010)


A short example of the decisionmaking process:


("What Is Red?," 2011)