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| University Libraries
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Library Research Basics

This guide provides details on accessing information for your research, and how you can get assistance with studying and projects at George Mason.

The CRAAP Test

CRAAP* is an acronym for remembering criteria you need to use when evaluating information.

C

Currency

When was the information published or last updated?

R

Relevance

Does the information answer your research questions appropriately? How does it help you? Who is the intended audience?

A

Authority

Who are the authors and what are their credentials?

A

Accuracy

Was the piece reviewed by editors or scholars? Is there supporting evidence? Can you verify the accuracy of the information? Is there a bibliography or list of cited sources?

P

Purpose

Is the author’s purpose to sell, persuade, entertain, or inform? Is the information or author biased? Do the authors make their intentions clear?

*CRAAP acronym and descriptions created by the Meriam Library at CSU, Chico. (http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/evalsites.html)

Characteristics for Popular, Scholarly, and Trade Sources

These are general rules of thumb to follow when determining if a source is popular, scholarly, or trade:
 
 General rules for evaluating types of information 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For information or a printable version of this chart, you can view the University Libraries' Tutorial page.