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BIOL 2389 SO Luyster: Evaluating Your Sources

C.A.A.R.P Test

The quality of your final research project is related to the quality of the sources you use. As one professor put it, "garbage in, garbage out."  Applying the CAARP Test is one way to evaluate the quality and value of a source (book, article, etc.) before you start writing.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if the source is one you should use...


  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you locate a date when the resource was written/created/updated?
  • Based on your topic, is this current enough?
  • Why might the date matter for your topic?


  • Can you determine who the author/creator is?
  • What are their credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc.)?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor of the work?
  • Is this publisher reputable?


  • The information should be correct and verifiable.
  • Does the resource provide citations?
  • Can you verify the information in the resource from the citations or other sources?
  • Is the resource peer-reviewed?
  • •Do the information and tone seem unbiased an


  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is the content primarily opinion?
  • Is the information balanced or biased?
  • Does the author provide citations and references for quotations and data?

Purpose/Point of View

  • What is the intent of the article (to persuade you, to sell something, etc.)
  • For web sources: what is the domain (.edu, .com, etc.)? How might that influence the purpose/point of view?