Do Due Diligence or CRAP Detection

Not all information sources are created equal, whether online, in print, on the free web, a library subscription or via a fee based database.  Regardless of the medium, you will be expected to do due diligence on the sources you rely on. 

During the due diligence stage of a deal, the parties carefully investigate the material facts of the deal as well as the background of those they are dealing with.  The nature of the investigation is highly dependent on the nature of the deal itself. In short, context counts. 

To illustrate, a young couple starting out furnishing their home will think about the style, price, size and delivery options for their first dining room furniture.  A compact, contemporary, sale priced set requiring self assembly and delivery purchased from a large discount home furnishing retailer may be just right for them. A wealthy family, whose continued success is boosted by entertaining clients in the process of decorating a vacation home may focus more on finding a trusted interior designer then on the particulars of the furnishings.  In turn the interior designer may verify the provenance of suitable pieces, strategize her auction bidding to ensure success and remodel the room to fit the pieces.  Both families furnished a dining room by considering size, price, style and delivery, but their means of doing so are almost unrecognizable.

Similarly in research projects,  the type of due diligence and depth of inquire varies depending on the nature and purpose of the project.  The CRAP (Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose/Point of View) Detection prescription for scholarly research is ubiquitous.  This guide adds to and extends the CRAP prescription for practical academic business research.

Currency   When was the piece published or posted?  How old is the supporting data or how long ago was supporting data gathered?

Reliability  Is the source error free?  Are conclusions consistent with evidence presented?  To what extent are results replicatable?  Are methods used described or transparent?

Authority  How strong are the credentials and reputation of the author and publisher? 

Purpose/Point of View  Consider why the piece was produced.  Is the piece fact, fiction, opinion, persuasion, critique or analysis?