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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.



When was the information published or last updated?



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



Who are the authors and what are their credentials?



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?



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. (

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.