Evaluating Scholarly Sources

Academic writing requires you to build your research upon the work of others—which means referring to scholarly sources. But failing to select the right sources can result in shoddy research and can hurt your credibility. To help you evaluate sources, we suggest using the C.R.A.P. test—that’s Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose. Applying the C.R.A.P. test to your sources will show you which ones are appropriate to use in academic research. None of these filters are foolproof, but they’re a good starting point.

C is for Currency

When was the source published?

R is for Reliability

How credible and applicable is the information?

A is for Authority

What do you know about the author(s) of the source?

P is for Purpose

What is the source trying to accomplish?


“Evaluating Sources: Use the C.R.A.P. Test!” Mercer University Libraries. Mercer University, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

“CRAP Test: Evaluating Websites.” South Mountain Community College. South Mountain Community College Library, Updated 25 July 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

“The CRAP Test.” Ohio University Libraries. Ohio University, Updated 23 March 2012. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.