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NS 1220: Nutrition and the Life Cycle: Evaluating Information

The CRAAP Test

Currency

  • When it comes to health, you often need current, up-to-date information.  Check the website for a copyright date, or 'last updated' date, often at the very bottom of the page.
  • Try the links on the page.  If many of them are 'broken', it's likely that the page has not been updated or maintained.

Relevance

  • Check that the information is relevant to your question.  Choose your search terms carefully to retrieve the most relevant results.
  • Who is the intended audience of the website?  Is the information meant for health consumers (lay people) or health professionals?

Authority

  • A good website will provide clear information as to the author/owner of the site and the source of the information.  You should be able to find an 'About' link somewhere on the page.
  • Legitimate sites often provide contact information.
  • The web address can be a clue to authorship:  .edu indicates an educational institution and .gov indicates a government website. 

Accuracy

  • The accuracy of the information can be difficult to determine, but some clues may be a warning sign.  Trust your judgement and beware of sites that make health claims that you know to be false or that are debunked by another reliable, trustworthy source.
  • Beware of biased or opinionated language.
  • Steer clear of websites that are poorly written, full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, or lots of exclamation points.

Purpose

  • The purpose of a reliable health information website should be to teach or inform.  The information should be objective and impartial.
  • Beware of sites whose primary purpose seems to be selling products, entertaining, or sites that are strongly biased or opinionated.

Evaluating Scientific Evidence

Evidence Pyramid

Not all scientific studies are created equal!  Study design can impact the strength and quality of evidence that a study holds.  This 'Evidence Pyramid' depicts the levels of evidence provided by different types of studies and information.  The wide base of the pyramid indicates that there are many editorials and expert opinions, but that they provide the weakest evidence to inform policy and decision-making.  There are many fewer systematic reviews on a topic, but these represent the pinnacle of research evidence.