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It's A TRAP!

1. Welcome! Start Here

It's a Trap!

Improve your credibility by critically evaluating sources with the TRAP method

Before You Start: About This Module

This learning module will help you find good sources of information when you do your research. By the time you have completed it, you will:

  • Know what the TRAP method is.
  • Know how to use the step-by-step TRAP method to evaluate a source for timeliness, relevance, authority, and purpose.


It should take you about 15 minutes to complete.

Getting Started: About the TRAP Method

T.R.A.P. stands for Timeliness, Relevance, Authority, Purpose—TRAP!

You will learn how to use the TRAP method to ask yourself questions in a step-by-step process. This will help you evaluate whether a source of information is good for your assignment.

[insert accessible image—four columns, each headed by a letter: T, R, A, and P. rows of question marks below]

First, learn about the TRAP method by watching the video, Overview of the TRAP method for evaluating sources.

Overview of the TRAP method for evaluating sources

Stop and Think

 Think of a time when it has helped you to really do your research and critically evaluate something before making a choice—in your job, in your studies, or in your personal life. 

Using the TRAP Method in Your Studies

You can use the TRAP method throughout your studies, in most of your coursework. The concepts of timeliness, relevance, authority, and purpose are important in college-level research, no matter your topic or discipline. This makes the TRAP method a great tool for your college education!

Librarian Tip

 Come back every semester when you have a research assignment to re-watch this video. It will be a quick reminder about how to find good sources.


Keep going! There's more to this module. Continue to 2. T is for Timeliness...

Last Updated: May 28, 2024 11:56 AM