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Research Skills

Evaluating Sources

The CRAP Test is an acronym used to evaluate information. CRAP stands for currency, relevance, authority and purpose. The CRAP Test can be applied to any type of resource. When using the CRAP Test, ask yourself:

  • Currency -- How timely is the information?
  • Relevance -- Does the information meet your needs?
  • Authority -- Who is the author/publisher of this information?
  • Purpose -- Why does this information exist?​

CRAP Test CRAP Test Rubric Evaluation Tool

Search Techniques

Locating the information you need isn't always easy, and it helps to have a strategy. Check out some search tips in the PDF's below. 

Research Tips - A thesis statement:

  • is the foundation/focus of your paper/project.
  • is a strong statement regarding what you plan to prove as a result of your research. 
  • defines your project as analytical, expository or persuasive.

Search limiters, sometimes called search connectors, are words used to define a relationship between your search terms.

Instead of searching for one general term, identify multiple related terms and try connecting them with AND, OR or NOT. 

Types of Resources

When conducting research, it is important to understand the type of resources you are using. In general, scholarly articles are viewed as having the most authority, which is why they are most often used for research. Popular resources, such as magazines, are not usually written by subject experts, but they do involve research on the part of the writer. Internet articles are created for many different reasons and by a variety of people. For this reason, Internet resources need to be carefully scrutinized. 

  Scholarly Resources Popular Resources Internet Resources
Purpose To report research and ideas that contribute to the scholarly knowledge of a subject To provide entertainment, report the news or summarize a topic Any variety of reasons: Advertisement, information, entertainment, school project, propaganda, personal opinion, etc.
Audience Professionals, academics, researchers Anyone with an interest in the subject matter Varies depending on the purpose of content
Language Field specific—the reader must be in touch with subject-specific research and/or lingo to understand the article Everyday language accessible to any generally knowledgeable reader Varies from extremely informal to grammatically incorrect to professional or scholarly
Author Established credentials in the field Journalism degree; most likely lacks subject-specific credentials Copy writers, students, journalists, web designers, companies, bloggers, etc.
Research Based on original or new applications of others’ research Research may include interviews and/or a survey of informational resources Varies. Plagiarism is rampant on the Internet and sometimes it is difficult to track down the original information source.
Review Peer-review process Reviewed by editor Will vary from no review to peer-review to editor review
Appearance May contain graphs or tables, but few photographs Appearance is eye-catching; Includes pictures and possibly advertisements Varies greatly depending on purpose of page/skill of web designer
Bibliography Yes Not likely Sometimes
Publisher Professional organization or academic press Media conglomerate or commercial publisher Varies—individual, company, etc.
Frequency Usually quarterly Monthly, weekly or daily Depends on type of site

Additional Resources

The Research Process Research Using Current Events

Document(s)SizeUpload Date
PDF icon CRAP Test Rubric.pdf187.79 KB07/04/2018
PDF icon Research Tips.pptx.pdf65.57 KB07/04/2018
PDF icon SearchLimiters.pdf23.83 KB07/04/2018