Do you know the difference between popular and scholarly materials? What do you know about peer-review? How do you evaluate what you find when you're conducting research? Use this page to learn about different types of publications and the CRAP checklist.
You can limit your search to scholarly articles by checking the "peer-reviewed articles" filter before or after you search in a library database.
In scholarship, a document or record containing firsthand information or original data on a topic, used in preparing a derivative work. Primary sources include original manuscripts, periodical articles reporting original research or thought, diaries, memoirs, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, posters, film footage, sheet music, songs, interviews, government documents, public records, eyewitness accounts, newspaper clippings, etc
|Any published or unpublished work that is one step removed from the original source, usually describing, summarizing, analyzing, evaluating, derived from, or based on primary source materials, for example, a review, critical analysis, second-person account, or biographical or historical study. Also refers to material other than primary sources used in the preparation of a written work.|
Definitions found in Reitz, Joan M. Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. (2013). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
The CRAAP test guides us through some questions to ask about a source to determine its quality.
- When was this published? Has it been updated?
- Is the information still accurate now or is it out-of-date or incomplete?
- Will this source help you understand your topic or complete your assignment?
- Does this source meet your assignment's criteria?
- Who published this? Is this a source others trust?
- Who wrote this? What are their credentials?
- Is there evidence for claims made–maybe citations?
- Can you verify the information in other places?
- Do we know or believe this information was reviewed before publication--whether by fact-checkers or through a peer-review process?
- Is this source trying to sell something? Is it intended to entertain?
- Are these opinions, based on one perspective, or facts?
- Does this source seem biased?
Tip: You can answer these questions using information from the source and the rest of the web. Don't recognize a publication or website? Google it to see what others are saying!