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BUSN/ECON 380: Research Methods in Business/Economics

The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP test provides basic questions to help you think about the quality of your source.

Is it Current?

When was it published? Are their references current? Is currently important for your topic?

Is it Relevant?

Does the info relate to my topic? What audience is it written for? Is it at an appropriate level for my needs?

Is it Authoritative?

Who is the author/organization? Are they qualified? Is it edited or peer-reviewed

Is it Accurate?

Where does the information come from? Are there references? Are there errors, broken links etc.?

What is its Purpose?

What's the purpose of the information? Advertising? Scholarly work? Opinion? Is there bias? Who is the intended audience?


Adapted from Meriam Library, California State University, Chico California

How to Assess an Article or Book Quickly



Quickly Assess an Article



Steps to selecting a peer reviewed article for your research:

  • What information do you need?
  • What is the purpose of the article? Who is the audience?
  • How does the article relate to your research topic?
  • What do you expect to learn from this article?
  • What information will this article provide for your thesis statement or research needs?

Steps to scanning a peer reviewed article to determine the main idea:

  • Read the title. Read the abstract of the article, which provides a summary of the findings.
  • Read the introduction of the article, which includes information about the research topic, and may include a literature review.
  • Review graphs, charts and illustrations
  • Read the discussion section
  • Read the conclusion

All these areas tell us a lot about the article, without reading through the entire article.

Avoid difficult articles - if you do not understand sections as you skim, then move on to an article that you do understand.


  • Use a dictionary to learn the definitions of terms in the article.
  • Look through the literature review section to find other research articles.
  • Consult the reference and bibliography sections to find other relevant resources.

Quickly Assess a Book



Steps to selecting a book for your research:

  1. Read the title
  2. Review the table of contents. Identify chapters about your research topic.
  3. Give your book a quick overview. 
    • Who is the author? Review the author biography at the beginning of the book or the back cover. Is the author an expert in the field?
    • Read the preface of the book.
    • Go over the summary or concluding chapter at the end of the book
    • Look for a book review about the book, which will highlight any controversies about the book.
  4. When reading the chapters that you need, make sure you understand the argument presented.
    • Review the subheadings in the body of relevant chapters
    • Read the opening and closing portions of relevant chapters
    • What is the author saying?
    • What point of view is the author expressing? Can you detect any biases?
    • Is the author exploring the issue thoroughly, or is there information missing?
    • Is the evidence presented fairly in the chapter? Is there enough evidence? Does the evidence support the author's case? Could you make other arguments?
    • How does the author's point of view compare or contrast with other readings?
  5. Look through the index at the back of the book. If a book covers a broad topic, use the index to find specific information. Be aware of the following:
    • Indexes sometimes require you to look up a subject many times. Learn to use the index and the table of contents together to speed up your research.
    • Indexes sometimes place the subject out of context.