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ENG 102 / ENG 108: Research Papers, Literary Criticism & Annotated Bibliographies

This guide has been designed for MCC students taking English 102. It serves as a starting point for the research paper assignment. Use the tabs at the top of the guide to get started finding, using and evaluating information for your assignments.

Evaluating Sources

Before you use any information for your research, you need to determine if it is current, relevant, accurate, unbiased and authoritative information that pertains to your research needs. The CRAAP test is a great tool to apply to all information sources for evaluative purposes. The five CRAAP criteria are listed below. Remember to evaluate ALL information sources - give the CRAAP test a try!


Currency: The timeliness of the information.

When was the information published or posted?

Has the information been revised or updated?

Is the information current or out-of-date for your topic?

• Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

Who is the intended audience?

Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?

Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: The source of the information.

Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?

Are the author’s credentials or organizational affliations given?

What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?

Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?

• Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.

Where does the information come from?

Is the information supported by evidence?

Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?

Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?

Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?

Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?

Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?


*The above information was created by Meriam Library, California State University, Chico

Evaluating Websites

Created by CSU, Fullerton.