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Introduction to Human Resources Research

Evaluating Information using the CRAAP Criteria

When selecting information to refer to in an assignment, it's important to evaluate that information and consider whether it's a source worth referring to - or, if there might be more suitable information available. One set of criteria that may help with this is the CRAAP test. This set of criteria includes a few questions to ask about a source, to help determine if it is worth referring to.

Remember to also look at any assignment requirements that may include additional details on the types of sources to use.


Currency

Is the information up-to-date, and when was it published? Look for a published date, as well as the dates of any materials referred to in the item.

Example - Evaluating Currency
For a research project about current policies and approaches to employee pensions, an article from 20 years ago probably wouldn't be considered 'Current'. Legislation and practices change over time, and a more recently published book/article will have more current information.

Relevance

Does the information relate to your research topic, and us the information in-depth enough for academic use? Look for information that relates to the topic, and is written at the right level.

Example - Evaluating Relevance
For a research project about the minimum wage in Ontario, an article about the minimum wage in British Columbia likely wouldn't be relevant (unless you're comparing the two!). Consider geography as well as the source's coverage of the topic.

Authority

Is the author qualified to write about this topic? For example, see if any professional designations, academic affiliations, or a position/employer  are listed.

Example - Evaluating Authority
For an assignment that requires using trustworthy sources, an anonymously written article may lack authority. Without information on who the author is, and what expertise they have, it's difficult to know if the information can be relied upon. Investigate who the author is, and also consider if the article is published in a trustworthy source.

Accuracy

Is the information supported by evidence, and has the author provided citations or links to research they quote? This can help indicate that the article is accurate.

Example - Evaluating Accuracy
An article includes a startling statistic, but doesn't indicate where that statistic is from (whether an external source, a survey the authors conducted, etc.). Look for other sources that can help corroborate a claim, or that refer to other trustworthy sources. If an article includes citations and references to other research, this can help in evaluating the accuracy of the article.

Purpose

Is the information presented objectively, or could the author be trying to sell, entertain, or persuade readers? Consider if there are any potential biases that have an impact on how the information is presented, or which information is presented.

Example - Evaluating Purpose
An article written by a company about their services may be written for the purpose of advertising, rather just than providing information on a topic. It may lack objectivity. In magazines and newspapers, look out for indicators that an article is 'Branded Content' or 'Sponsored Content', which may be written to sell a product. Look for sources that provide information in an objective manner.

Additional Information

To view the video, make sure that you're first signed in to Seneca's LinkedIn Learning subscription.

To learn more about evaluating information, watch this video from LinkedIn Learning. This video covers a slightly different set of criteria from the CRAAP criteria, but provides a similar framework for evaluating information and choosing good sources for assignments. 

Information Literacy: Criteria for evaluating information (Video Link)

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