You need to know if information can be trusted before you use it

Like many other people you may look on the internet for information about your health problem. It is important to know that not all information can be trusted. You may be given advice that is dangerous or misleading. Discuss any information you find with your GP and health care team.

How do we work out what palliative care information is correct, trustworthy and reliable? 

Information on the internet is not controlled or regulated. You need to use your common sense to judge the value of the information you find. A useful tool to help you is the CRAAP test.

Download our How to choose trustworthy evidence infographic (98kb pdf)

The CRAAP test

CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. It was developed by Miriam Library at California State University (USA) to help people decide whether the website they are viewing is reliable.

When deciding whether to use an internet site to find information look for these five things:

The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published?
  • Has there been any updates or revision to the information?
  • Are the sources used by the author current or outdated?
  • Is the information out-of-date for the topic?

The importance of the information to your context.

  • Does the information answer your question?
  • Is the information related to the topic you are interested in?
  • Have you looked for other sources before settling on this one?
  • Is the information appropriate to your level of understanding? Is it too simple or too sophisticated?

The source of the information.

  • Who is the author?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Has the material been peer-reviewed or reviewed by editors?
  • Has the author been cited elsewhere?

The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content.

  • What types of other sources have been cited?
  • Does the information line up with your own knowledge on the topic?
  • Are there any spelling or grammar errors in the text?

The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform or persuade?
  • Is the author clear what their intentions are?
  • What biases might the author have? eg. are they trying to sell a product?

This version of the CRAAP list was adapted from one developed by University of Wollongong, Australia.

Last updated 02 August 2021


Currency

The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published?
  • Has there been any updates or revision to the information?
  • Are the sources used by the author current or outdated?
  • Is the information out-of-date for the topic?

Relevancy

The importance of the information to your context.

  • Does the information answer your question?
  • Is the information related to the topic you are interested in?
  • Have you looked for other sources before settling on this one?
  • Is the information appropriate to your level of understanding? Is it too simple or too sophisticated?

Authority

The source of the information.

  • Who is the author?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Has the material been peer-reviewed or reviewed by editors?
  • Has the author been cited elsewhere?

Accuracy

The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content.

  • What types of other sources have been cited?
  • Does the information line up with your own knowledge on the topic?
  • Are there any spelling or grammar errors in the text?

Purpose

The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform or persuade?
  • Is the author clear what their intentions are?
  • What biases might the author have? e.g. are they trying to sell a product? 

This version of the CRAAP list was adapted from one developed by University of Wollongong, Australia.