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English Capstone: Day 2: Evaluating Sources

The CRAAP Test

The CRAAP Test is an easy-to-remember way to evaluate your source. It will help you figure out if your source is good or it it's- well, you know...


Currency: When was this written/published?

Relevance: Does this help me with my research?

Authority: Who wrote this? What are the author's credentials?

Accuracy: Is this true? Does it seem reliable?

Purpose: Why was this written? Does the author have an agenda other than educating others?

Reading is not a spectator sport!

At this point in your college career, you are probably no stranger to reading and engaging with a text. And you've probably noticed that scholarly journal articles just aren't as engaging as works of fiction.

Well tough. But since we like the cut of your jib, here are some tips to make dealing with scholarly articles a little less painful:

  • If there's an abstract, read it.
  • Read the introduction and conclusion before deciding to read the rest.
  • If something's useful, you'll have to read it more than once!
  • Marginalia is your friend.
  • Give yourself enough time to read a bit every day. Don't try to read journal articles for 6 hours a day. Nope.

You should take notes while reading. Highlighting should be kept to a minimum (only very important phrases, terms, and information). Instead you should write things in your own words as you go and engage with articles similarly to how you would with any other text.

Taking good notes

Use a note-taking system that works for you!

If you haven't found one yet- try this- it's what works for me:

Before you read

MLA Citation of source

Why am I reading this source/which research ?s do I think it will help answer:

While you read

(pg #)

  • notes   

    • more

    • notes

      • mhmm


  • next page’s notes

After you read

Short summary of article:

Author’s main points:


New evidence/arguments:

Questions I still have:

Relationship to my research questions:

Relationship to other articles I’ve read:

Is this useful to me?

Books to understand your chosen method of analysis

The Cambridge history of literary criticism.

The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism

Reference work/Encyclopedia

 Literary theory, an anthology

Literary Theory, an Anthology


Beginning theory : an introduction to literary and cultural theory

1998, Peter Berry


Psychoanalytic Criticism : a Reader.
2013, Sue Vice

 Reader-response criticism : from formalism to post-structuralism

Reader-response criticism : from formalism to post-structuralism

1980, Jane Tompkins

 The greening of literary scholarship : literature, theory, and the environment

The greening of literary scholarship : literature, theory, and the environment
2013, Steven Rosendale

Contemporary postcolonial theory : a reader

Contemporary postcolonial theory : a reader

1996, Padmini Mongia