Skip to Main Content

Evaluating Sources: TRAAP Test

Learn tools you can use to evaluate information.

About the TRAAP Test

TRAAP is an evaluation tool which can help you assess the credibility of a source. TRAAP is an acronym which stands for Timeframe, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose. Each of these headings has a set of related questions that help you to decide whether the source is suitable for academic research. 

The TRAAP questions are meant to serve as a guide rather than a checklist. The importance of each set of criteria will vary depending on your topic and the kind of evidence you are looking for. 



  • When was the information created, published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated? 
  • Is the information current or out of date for your topic?


  • Does the information relate to your topic?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (e.g. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Does it seem credible?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?


  • Who is the creator and/or author and/or publisher and/or source and/or sponsor?
  • Is there any information about the author's credentials or organizational affiliations? 
  • Is the writer an expert on the subject? What are their qualifications? 
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Are citations and references provided? 
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem objective and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
  • Why do you trust it?


  • What is the purpose of the information (e.g. to inform, teach, sell, entertain, persuade etc.)?
  • Do the authors and/or sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion and/or propaganda?
  • Is it objective or biased?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Video: Evaluating Sources

Watch a short tutorial describing how to evaluate sources using the TRAAP Test.

Gwinnett Technical College Library (2020) TRAAP. 6 May. Available at: (Accessed: 9 June 2023).

Copyright Statement

Creative Commons License
This work in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.