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Conduct a Literature Review

A guide to walk you through the process of doing a literature review

Evaluate Popular (Non-Scholarly) Sources

Popular sources refer to magazines, newspapers, and social media. They are not peer-reviewed, but they help you quickly build a general overview of a topic. How do you evaluate popular sources? To determine the trustworthiness of these sources, you can use the CRAP test.



CRAP test is a simple tool to help you evaluate non-scholarly sources, basically by asking yourself a few questions on whether your source is current, relevant, authoritative, and accurate. Watch this video to learn how CRAP test works.

Source: Colorado Community Colleges Online


CRAP - Quick Checklist
C - Currency R - Reliability A - Authority P - Purpose
  • How recent is the information posted?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?
  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?
  • Who is the creator of the website?
  • What are the credentials? Can you find any information about the author's background?
  • Who is the author of the article? 
  • Are they reputable?
  • Does the website URL reveal anything about the source?

.gov - a government site
.edu - an educational site
 - a commercial site
.org - an organization site

  • What is the purpose of the website? 
  • Is this fact or opinion? Does the author list sources or cite references?
  • Is it biased? Does the author seem to be trying to push an agenda or particular side?
  • Is the creator trying to sell you something? If so, is it clearly stated?

Adapted from: Evaluating Sources Toolkit: CRAP Test

Crash Course - Navigating Digital Information

This Crash Course "Navigating Digital Information", presented by John Green, provides plenty of practical strategies and tips on evaluating the information we read online, including photos, videos, data/statistics and infographics. Check out the videos to learn more!

  1. Introduction [13:34]
  2. The Facts about Fact Checking [13:55]
  3. Check Yourself with Lateral Reading [13:52]
  4. Who Can You Trust? [14:46]
  5. Using Wikipedia [14:16]
  6. Evaluating Evidence [13:21]
  7. Evaluating Photos & Videos [13:19]
  8. Data & Infographics [13:02]
  9. Click Restraint [12:47]
  10. Social Media [16:51]