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DNP - Library Resources

Is this a quality resource?

When choosing a resource, it is important to determine the credibility and reliability of that resource.  To do that, we recommend the C.R.A.P. test: 


  • What is the publication date?
  • and how does this date impact your topic of research?
    • Remember, newer doesn't always mean better.  The need for currency depends heavily on the topic of your paper. 
    • If you are evaluating a website, the publication or copyright date will help you determine if the site is current.  If you can't find a date on a website, beware; the information on the site might very well be out-of-date.  Broken links are another sign that the site has not been updated recently.  


  • Does this resource actually deal with your topic?  
    • Be careful that you aren't choosing a resource just because it has your keyword somewhere in the title or contents. Make sure the work has a substantial portion that directly addresses your research topic.
    • Ask yourself, "Does the abstract primarily deal with the topic you are researching?"
  • Does the resource provide references for the included information?
  • When you are evaluating a website, web addresses that end in .gov and .edu are typically more reliable than .com sites.  


  • Who is the author of the resource?  
  • Do they have substantial academic or professional experience and credentials that give them the authority to speak on this topic?
  • For websites, consider the organization associated with the site or publishing the site.


  • Why was this resource written?  To inform or persuade?  
  • Be aware of any bias that the author may have toward your subject that could taint the authority and reliability of the information provided in their work.  

For example, let's perform the CRAP test on the following resource:

Andrews, R. C., Chen, M. Z., & Logue, J. (2014). “Bariatric surgery for type 2 diabetes always produces a good outcome.” Practical Diabetes, 31(9), 376–380.

Research Topic: Bariatric Surgery as a medical treatment for obese patients with diabetes. 

Currency: This article was published in 2014, so it is relatively current. If your professors have provided you with a time limit for your resources, such as articles published within the last 5 years, this article may be slightly too old for your needs. Depending on your research topic and the guidelines of your professors, you may want only the most current information. However, some aspects of research, such as looking at the history of a certain topic, may require you to look at some older materials. So, the currency need of your sources depends heavily on your research topic and the guidelines established by your professors.      

Relevancy/Reliability: The main subject headings of this article are Bariatric Surgery, Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, and Decision Making, all of which deal directly with our research topic. Another way to make certain that the resource is relevant to your research is to ensure that the resource's conversation centers around your topic, for example, an entire article should address your research topic or at least a whole chapter in a book.  Resources that only briefly mention your topic are not providing you with enough relevant information to truly impact your research. 

Authority/Accuracy:  It is important to know who is authoring the information you are reading.  Do they have the academic and/or professional experience to speak authoritatively about this subject area?  Authors that have academic and professional experience in the field they are writing about can be trusted to provide more accurate information.  

Sometimes, the article or book will provide a brief bio that informs us of the author's credentials.  This particular article does have that information (quoted below) and it appears that all of our authors hold faculty positions at medical schools and two appear to be practicing physicians. If the resource you are evaluating does not provide biographical information about the author, perform a web search for the author in order to learn a little bit more about them. 

  • Dr. Robert C. Andrews - School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol UK and Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton, UK
  • Dr. Mimi Z. Chen - School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol UK and Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust, Bath, UK
  • Dr. Jennifer Logue - Clinical Senior Lecturer in Metabolic Medicine, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK

​​Purpose/Point-of-view: It is important to understand if the author(s) has any bias towards the topic.  Are they presenting their research or are they trying to persuade you? This article gives us opposing research, for and against this particular medical procedure. The article also provides us with a declaration of interests for each of the authors so you can be aware of any bias that may exist towards the topic.  As a result, we can be assured that this article was written to inform the audience about the topic being discussed.   

  • Dr. Andrews is a principal investigator on the National Institute for Health Research HTA-funded By-Band study: gastric bypass or adjustable gastric band surgery to treat morbid obesity.
  • Dr. Chen has no conflict of interests.
  • Dr. Logue is Chief Investigator of the NIHR funded Surgical Obesity Treatment Study, a prospective cohort study on the long-term outcomes from bariatric surgery.

This resource has passed the CRAP test and can be confidently used as a credible and reliable resource for our research!  Check to make sure that the date of the work does not go against the guidelines your professor has established.

SIFT is a helpful acronym for initially evaluating source credibility. SIFT (from Mike Caulfield) stands for:

  • STOP. Pause and ask yourself if you recognize the information source and if you know anything about the website or the claim's reputation.
    If not, use the moves (below) to learn more. If you start getting too overwhelmed during the other moves, pause and remember your original purpose.
  • INVESTIGATE the source.
    Take a minute to identify where this information comes from and to consider the creator's expertise and agenda. Is this source worth your time? Look at what others have said about the source to help with you these questions.
    (For example, a company that sells health food products is not the best source for information about health benefits/risks of consuming coconut oil. A research study funded by a pharmaceutical company is also suspect.)
  • FIND trusted coverage.
    Sometimes it's less important to know about the source and more important to assess their claim. Look for credible sources; compare information across sources and determine whether there appears to be a consensus.
  • TRACE claims, quotes, and media back to the original context.
    Sometimes online information has been removed from its original context (for example, a news story is reported on in another online publication or an image is shared on Twitter). If needed trace the information back to the original source in order to recontextualize it. 

Modified from Mike Caulfield's SIFT (Four Moves), which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Later, when you determine that the site is worth your time, you can analyze the source's content more carefully.

Peer-reviewed simply means that the article’s content has been checked by other experts in that specific field of study for accuracy and reliability.  These resources are also often referred to as scholarly articles or academic articles.

5 Clues that the article is peer-reviewed:

  1. References – always look for a list of works cited, a bibliography, or a reference list
  2. Author – educational and professional credentials provided
  3. Abstract – a short summary highlighting the content of the article
  4. Audience – content written using specialized terminology
  5. Graphs and Charts – visually communicated empirical data