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Critical Thinking & Academic Research

This guide is created to aid you in your development of critical thinking skills and in your ability to conduct research using library resources.

Evaluating Resources Critically

Evaluation is one of the significant steps of the research process. If you are not evaluating the resources you will use in your paper very well, it will slow you down. You need sufficient well-evaluated resources to support your research thesis statement. 

While searching for the resources you need, it is essential to remember there are five tips: currency, relevancy, authority, accuracy, and purpose that will guide you through evaluating the resources you need critically. Please see the CRAAP chart below for an overview of the evaluation concept, and see the next sections of this guide that cover each tip in much more detail with an exercise at the end. 

Please also keep in your mind these golden reminders when you start your evaluation process. 

  • Consider information resources as “evidence” to support your standpoint/argument or thesis statement. 
  • Don’t assume that one format of the information is better than others. Primary sources are not better than secondary sources or vice versa. Depending on your research needs, you might need to use various types of information. 
  • Evaluation is an art, not a science. There is no “one size fits all” set of guidelines for this important activity! It is a trial-and-error process. It will get better by practice. 

Maloney, Ame. "Media Bias Handout". OER Commons. Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, 29 May 2019. Web. 15 Feb. 2021. <>.

The C.R.A.A.P. Test was created by Sarah Blakeslee (the University of California at Chico, Meriam Library). This content was based on her original text with some modifications.


G.R. Little Library

Elizabeth City State University