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WRT 104/106 Guide for Students

Welcome to the URI Libraries! This guide will help you with your research for WRT 104/106.

Evaluating Information

When you search for information, you're going to find plenty... but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help determine if the information you find is good quality. Your information source may not meet every criterion on this list; different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So why guess? Is your source giving you truly credible and useful information, or just a lot of...?!

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  • Is the information current or too out-of-date for my topic?
  • Are all the links functional or are there dead links?*
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
  • Does the information relate to my topic or answer my question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too simple or advanced) for my needs?
  • Did I look at a variety of sources before deciding to use this one?
  • Would I be comfortable using this source for my college research paper?
Authority: The source of the information.
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail 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 information.
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed by anyone else?
  • Can I verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased? Or is it free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, typographical, or other 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?
*criteria specifically for evaluating Web site information

adapted from:

Evaluating information – Applying the CRAAP test, 10/24/2007. Reference & Instruction, Meriam Library ReSEARCH Station, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico, CA. 17 Mar 2008. <>

Prepared for University Library lobby display, Evaluating information from the World Wide Web, March 2008.

For assistance
If you need further assistance, please stop by the Info & Research Help Desk, IM us, or call (401) 874-2653.

K. Cheromcha & M. MacDonald, 3/08

Comparing Source Types

 Scholarly Journals




Atmospheric & Oceanic Science Letters        BMC Medical Ethics


  • Scholarly Journals (like those above) contain in-depth, peer-reviewed, specific, and original research and are written with the intent of scholarly communication. Abstracts will typically be present depending on the subject field. 
  • Language contains specialized terminology or jargon from the field.
  • Provides qualitative/quantitative data (e.g. charts, graphs, & tables)
  • References are required -- all citations are verifiable.

        "Peer-reviewed" articles have been reviewed by other professionals within the field. They have been thoroughly
         examined by other experts to ensure scientific quality and accuracy.


        The author's credentials are (usually) provided; typically the institution where the author(s) worked when the article was
        published. The author(s) is usually a scholar or specialist with subject expertise.

Audience         Scholars, researchers, or students
Example Article A long postreproductive life span is a shared trait among genetically distinct killer whale populations.
Source/Journal Title

        Ecology & Evolution

  • Nielsen, Mia Lybkær Kronborg1
  • Ellis, Samuel1
  • Towers, Jared R.2
  • Doniol‐Valcroze, Thomas2
  • Franks, Daniel W.3
  • Cant, Michael A.4
  • Weiss, Michael N.1,5
  • Johnstone, Rufus A.6
  • Balcomb, Kenneth C.5
  • Ellifrit, David K.5
  • Croft, Darren P.1
Author Credentials         1Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
        2Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Vancouver BC,, Canada
        3Department of Biology, University of York, York, UK
        4College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn, UK
        5Center for Whale Research, Friday Harbor WA,, USA
        6Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
References Included         An extensive list of references included


Professional Journals



Texas Nursing Magazine                    


  • Professional journals (like Trade Journals) focus primarily on current news and trends in a specific profession; contains practical information for those working within the field.
  • Contains specialized jargon suited to the profession but is not as technical as a scholarly journal.
  • Can contain qualitative/quantitative information; can/will contain photographs and advertisements targeting professionals.
  • References are not required; and, when they are included, are often brief.
Author        Usually a professional or practitioner in the field
Audience        Professionals in the field; interested non-professionals
Example Article Trauma-Informed Care: Are We There Yet?
Source/Publication Title        Texas Nursing
Author        Pam Green
Author's Credentials        Director of the Texas Nursing Association
References Included        Seven listed at the end

Trade Journals





  • Trade journals focus primarily on current news and trends in a specific industry; contains practical information for those working within the industry.
  • Contains specialized jargon suited to the industry but is not as technical as a scholarly journal.
  • Can contain qualitative/quantitative information; can/will contain photographs and advertisements targeting industry professionals.
  • References are not required; and, when they are included, are often brief.
Author        May be a professional in the field or a writer with some subject experience
Audience        Professionals in the field; interested non-professionals
Example Article 2022 LIBRARY DESIGN SHOWCASE: The year's most impressive new and renovated libraries.
Source/Publication Title        American Libraries
Author        Sallyann Price
Author's Credentials        Over a decade of interviewing and writing experience in nonprofits, public affairs, and professional
References Included        None


Popular Sources

(Magazines/Newspapers/Other Media)



Time Magazine, Person of the Year 2021          National Geographic          People Magazine


  • Primary purpose is to entertain or inform for a general audience. Research is typically secondary by nature; may include personal narratives or opinions. 
  • Language is informal; easily understandable to most readers.
  • Can contain qualitative/quantitative information; will often contain colorful/vivid photographs and advertisements.
  • References are rare; very little, if any, information is provided.
Author        Authors are typically journalists paid to write articles who are not experts in any particular field.
Audience        General public; interested non-specialists
Example Article Mark Hamill Explains Why 'Star Wars' Came Up in Conversation with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Source        People Magazine
Author        Ryan Parker
Author's Credentials        Senior News Editor, Weekends
References Included        None


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