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Beeghly Library Research Guide

Evaluating Sources: TRAAP Test

The following criteria will assist you in evaluating information, whether it is in a book, article, or website. Remember, you are your own final authority when it comes to finding reliable information.

  • Timeliness – the “newness” of the information
  • Relevance – the depth and importance of the information for you
  • Authority – the source of the information
  • Accuracy – the reliability and correctness of the information
  • Purpose – the reason the information was created 

Timeliness: The "newness" of the information

Ask yourself:

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Have there been new versions or editions since this was published?
  • How quickly does new research for this topic come out?
  • Does new research expand upon or replace old information for this topic? 

Relevance: The depth and importance of the information for you

Ask yourself:

  • Does this source help answer your question? Does only part of it help?
  • Is it covering all aspects of your topic or only parts?
  • How detailed is the information? Is it too basic for your needs? Too advanced?

Authority: The source of the information

Ask yourself:

  • Who is the author? What can you find about them in the source itself or through a web search?
  • Is the author a professor or other expert? Does she have a degree related to the topic? Has she written on the topic previously?

  • Is the author drawing from her own personal experience?
  • Has the information been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review? Was it self-published or posted on a personal site?

Accuracy: The reliability and correctness of the information

Ask yourself:

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Does the author cite other sources? What does she cite?
  • For websites, did the author provide links to other sources? Do the links still work?
  • For studies, experiments, and other original research, does the author explain the method she used to find her results?
  • Does the information in this resource agree with other resources you have found and your own personal knowledge?

Purpose: The reason the information was created

Ask yourself:

  • Why did the author publish this source? Is she looking to inform, teach, advocate, sell, or entertain?
  • Who is the intended audience? Is this designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • What political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, personal or other perspectives does the author have?
  • What perspectives are not included within this resource, especially less privileged perspectives?  

Learn more about evaluating sources at libguides.heidelberg.edu/eval.