Episode Summary

Our discussion today centers around the Sarah Blakeslee one-page reference guideline for citing research sources (Blakeslee, Sarah (2004) “The CRAAP Test,” LOEX Quarterly: Vol. 31: No. 3, Article 4.) The paper is not peer-reviewed, but it is a helpful and worthwhile reference to keep in mind when writing your papers.  While Drew actually uses this guide with his students, research shows that even with the guidelines in front of them, many do not do the work and screen for these elements when using sources.

Episode Notes

We will go through each letter of the amusing and memorable acronym and give you our thoughts on ways to make sure each point is addressed, and different methodologies to consider when verifying or assuring that each element has been satisfied before you cite the source.

Sarah Blakeslee writes (about her CRAAP guidelines): Sometimes a  person needs an acronym that sticks. Take CRAAP for instance. CRAAP is an acronym that most students don’t expect a librarian to be using, let alone using to lead a class. Little do they  know that librarians can be crude and/or rude, and do almost anything in order to penetrate their students’  deep memories and satisfy their instructional objectives.  So what is CRAAP and how does it relate to libraries? Here begins a long story about a short acronym…

Discussion Points:

  • The CRAAP guidelines were so named to make them memorable
  • The five CRAAP areas to consider when using sources for your work are:
  • Currency- timeliness, how old is too old?
  • Relevance- who is the audience, does the info answer your questions
  • Authority- have you googled the author? What does that search show you?
  • Accuracy- is it verifiable, supported by evidence, free of emotion?
  • Purpose- is the point of view objective?  Or does it seem colored by political, religious, or cultural biases?
  • Takeaways:
  • You cannot fully evaluate a source without looking AT the source
  • Be cautious about second-hand sources– is it the original article, or a press release about the article?
  • Be cautious of broad categories, there are plenty of peer-reviewed, well-known university articles that aren’t credible
  • To answer our title question, use the CRAAP guidelines as a basic guide to evaluating your sources, it is a useful tool
  • Send us your suggestions for future episodes, we are actively looking!


“The first thing I found out is there’s pretty good evidence that teaching students using the [CRAAP] guidelines doesn’t work.” – Dr. Drew

“It turns out that even with the [CRAAP] guidelines right in front of them, students make some pretty glaring mistakes when it comes to evaluating sources.” – Dr. Drew

“Until I was in my mid-twenties, I never swore at all.” – Dr. Drew

“When you’re talking about what someone else said [in your paper], go read what that person said, no matter how old it is.” – Dr. Drew

“The thing to look out for in qualitative research is, how much are the participants being led by the researchers.” – Dr. Drew

“So what I really want to know when I’m reading a qualitative study is not what the participant answered.  I want to know what the question was in the first place.” – Dr. Drew


Link to the CRAAP Test

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