TRAAP is a simple acronym that can be used as a tool for evaluating information and determining if you're heading toward a research trap. Each letter in TRAAP represents a criteria by which to measure the reliability and appropriateness of sources.
Timeliness: The currency of the information
When was the information published or posted?
Has it been updated?
Do you need the most current, up-to-date information on your topic?
Relevance: The information meets your assignment needs
Does the source meet your assignment requirements?
Does the information directly relate to your topic?
Does it help you answer questions?
Have you looked at other sources to find the best one?
Authority: The source of the information
Who is the author or publisher?
Are they qualified to write about this area?
If it's a website, what does the URL say about the source, i.e. .com .edu .gov .org?
Accuracy: The reliability and correctness of the information
Is the information supported by citations or other evidence?
Can you verify the information with another source?
Is the author or publisher biased or unbiased?
Purpose: The reason the information exists
What is the purpose of the information? To inform, sell, persuade, or entertain?