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PH108: Astronomy and Cosmology


The librarians at California State University-Chico developed the CRAAP Test to help students evaluate information found online.  CRAAP stands for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose.

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Google search hacks

You can explore the internet using methods to ensure reliable websites come up for you.  You'll still need to evaluate the sites using the rubric on this page to be certain the information is solid.

  • Google search hacks: 
    • use quotation marks around phrases you specifically need to appear in results
    • if your search terms deliver results that make sense but aren't what you want, you can subtract what you don't want to see by using the hyphen.  For example, you can search for equine evolution -racing to weed out all the information about horse racing and the evolution of the sport from your results.
    • ask Google to deliver certain web domains, such as .edu sites.  Do this by entering your search phrase plus "site:" with whatever domain you want, such as edu or org.  Like this: equine evolution site:edu 
    • If you are looking for images, perform searches using the techniques above but then select the "images" option.  You can usually safely use images from most websites as long as you honor attribution, and cite the source.  If the website or image caption states that it's not ok to use the image without permission, do not use it.