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 Research a Topic

Use these steps to research a topic and document your sources.

The CRAAP Test - How to Evaluate Sources

The CRAAP Test is just one method you can use to evaluate sources for your research.

CRAAP stands for:

C - Currency - How recent is the source?

R - Relevance - Is the source relevant to your topic?

A - Authority - Does the author have the authority to know what they are talking about?

A - Accuracy - Does the source provide accurate information?

P - Purpose - What is the author's intended purpose for the source? To inform? To persuade? To sell?

Website Evaluation Criteria

You can also use these criteria to help discern the quality of a website.

    • Who is the author? Most scholarly and professional sites will provide the full name and contact information for the author of the site. Look for any credentials listed.
    • Is the author affiliated with a professional organization or educational institution?
    • How accurate is the information? Look for bibliographies or works cited to see if the sources sound legitimate. Also, check to see if any part of the information can be verified in another source, such as an encyclopedia or a reference source. Look for obvious errors like misspellings and incorrect facts.
    • What is its purpose? Many sites want to sell a product or persuade you toward a particular viewpoint. Try to determine the purpose of a page before you trust its content. Beware of excessive advertising.
    • When was the site created or last updated? Check to see that all of the facts are current.
    • Are these topics successfully addressed, with clearly presented arguments and adequate support to substantiate them?
    • Does the work update other sources, substantiate other materials you have read, or add new information?
    • Is the target audience identified and appropriate for your needs?
    • How professional does the page look? In a professional or educational site, the content will be the main focus of the page, not the design. It should be easy to navigate.

Plough Library · Christian Brothers University
Library Hours

650 E Parkway S, Memphis, TN 38117 · (901) 321-3432