Does your source pass the C.R.A.B. Test?

Currency (Date)

  • Are there dates on the page to indicate when the page was written, when the page was first placed on the Web, or when the page was last revised?  

Relevancy (Usefulness/Coverage)

  • Does the content of the document actually answer the question or solve the problem which caused you to perform the search to begin with?

Authority (Expertise/Credentials)

  • Is it clear who is responsible for the contents of the page?  
  • Is there a way of verifying the legitimacy of the organization, group, company or individual? 
  • Is there any indication of the author's qualifications for writing on a particular topic?
  • Is the information from sources known to be reliable? 

Bias (Objectivity/Point of View)

  • Does the content appear to contain any evidence of bias?
  • Is there a link to a page describing the goals or purpose of the sponsoring organization or company?
  • If there is any advertising on the page, is it clearly differentiated from the informational content? 

Additional questions for evaluating each source: 

What is the date the article was last updated?

  • Is the information current enough to answer your research question?

What is the website domain?

  • .edu/.gov are often more credible (sometimes harder to read—>see “determining sources” 
  • .org (what is the main purpose of the organization?)
  • .com sites can be useful, but often has less credible sources

What is the author’s purpose?

  • To inform (presents news, facts, and information)
  • To persuade (offers opinion/editorial on the subject)
  • To entertain (contains humor, satire, or storytelling)


Fact-Checking Sites

all links from:

AllSides. While not a fact-checking site, AllSides curates stories from right, center and left-leaning media so that readers can easily compare how bias influences reporting on each topic. 

Fact Check. This nonpartisan, nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by U.S. political players, including politicians, TV ads, debates, interviews and news releases.
Open Secrets. This nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit website run by the Center for Responsive Politics tracks how much and where candidates get their money.

Politifact. This Pulitzer Prize winning website rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials. Run by editors and reporters from the independent newspaper Tampa Bay Times, Politicfact features the Truth-O-Meter that rates statements as “True,” “Mostly True,” “Half True,” “False,” and “Pants on Fire.”

ProPublica. This independent, nonprofit newsroom has won several Pulitzer Prizes, including the 2016 Prize for Explanatory Reporting. ProPublica produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

Snopes. This independent, nonpartisan website run by professional researcher and writer David Mikkelson researches urban legends and other rumors. It is often the first to set the facts straight on wild fake news claims.

The Sunlight Foundation. This nonpartisan, nonprofit organization uses public policy data-based journalism to make politics more transparent and accountable.

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