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PSY 321: Social Psychology: Evaluating Sources

General Evaluation- The CRAAP Test

(To be sung to any tune you’d like)

C is for currency, what’s the date?

R is for relevance, how does it rate?

A is for authority, what’s the author up to?

Another A for accuracy, is it all true?

One more thing, before you’re through-

P for purpose, is this meant to negate?


The CRAAP test is a general evaluation tool that can be applied to almost any source you find at college and in your life. To learn more about the CRAAP test and the specific list of questions it provides for evaluating sources, please see this guide from the California State University, Chico.

Evaluating Experiments

In addition to the CRAAP test, there are a number of questions you can ask yourself to evaluate an experiment.

(No fun acronym for this...yet)

Is the sample representative?

  • Who is included in the study?
  • If certain groups are left out, is that intentional?
  • How might a non-representative sample impact results?

Is it reliable and replicable? 

  • If this experiment was conducted again, would the results be the same?
  • Could you replicate this experiment?

Is the scenario/setting too artificial?

  • Is the experiment too dissimilar from real life?
  • Is it based on a "realistic situation"
  • Is the situation believable to the subjects?

Other questions to ask

  • Are there any possible alternative explanations for the results that the study overlooks? 
  • Are key terms carefully defined?
  • How do the researchers reduce and otherwise deal with possible demand characteristics?