Published on April 21, 2010
Evaluating Web Sources : Evaluating Web Sources Give them the CRAAP Test! This presentation is based on the CRAAP Test developed by the Meriam Library at California State University Chico. Why evaluate sources?: Why evaluate sources? Just because it’s written doesn’t mean it’s good… Well, I’m not too picky! Evaluation Criteria: Evaluation Criteria Today, anyone who has the necessary skills can find a lot of information on almost any topic. So easy a fly can do it! Evaluation Criteria: Evaluation Criteria The challenge is to sift through a huge amount of information and identify sources that are reliable and appropriate. Evaluation Criteria: Evaluation Criteria Whether you find information in books and periodicals, on the Internet, or on television , you cannot assume it is reliable. But can I eat it? Evaluation Criteria: Evaluation Criteria The researcher is responsible for evaluating information and judging its quality. Evaluation Criteria: Evaluation Criteria You can use a system called the CRAAP Test to help you evaluate websites. Now that’s my kind of test! CRAAP Test: CRAAP Test C = C urrency R = R elevance A = A uthor A = A ccuracy P = P urpose C = Currency : C = C urrency The CRAAP Test C = Currency : C = C urrency Currency: The timeliness of the web page. When was the information gathered ? When was it posted ? When was it last revised ? C = Currency : C = C urrency Currency: The timeliness of the web page. Are links functional and up-to-date? Is there evidence of newly added information, “updates” or links ? C = Currency : C = C urrency How important is Currency? In fields such as medicine , science , business , technology , and most social sciences , currency of information is important . (no older than 3 years!) C = Currency : C = C urrency Sometimes Currency is not all that important. In fields such as history and literature , older materials may be just as valuable as newer ones . C = Currency : C = C urrency When evaluating a website, determine whether it is important to use current sources for the subject. R = Relevance : R = R elevance The CRAAP Test R = Relevance: R = R elevance Relevance = How effectively the website communicates the information to its intended audience. R = Relevance: R = R elevance Who is the intended audience ? Would this site be of greatest interest to the general user , the enthusiast , or the professional ? R = Relevance: R = R elevance What does the website assume about the audience in terms of their knowledge of and familiarity with the topic? Does the website take for granted that the audience will believe or buy into the information without any doubt? “Dogs are evil!” Well duh… R = Relevance: R = R elevance Is enough information presented for the audience to understand the topic? Is the information unique ? R = Relevance: R = R elevance Is the information available elsewhere such as an online news source? Could the same information be found in a simpler source , such as an encyclopedia or dictionary? I wasted all that time on that website when the info was right here ! A = Author : A = Author The CRAAP Test A = Author: A = Author Websites are not always created by experts ! A = Author: A = Author Look at the web address first – the address can tell you lots about the source www.urasucker4buying-this.com www.rip-u-off.com www.hot-n-naked.com A = Author: A = Author The address holds information about the author! . edu = college/university . gov = U.S. government site .com = commercial site .org = Organization/group .mil = U.S. military site .net = network of computers . k12.us = public school A = Author: A = Author The best sites for reliable information are: . edu . gov .mil . k12.us However, these are not without problems …students and professors may have personal web pages on the university website, so be sure to read them critically. A = Author: If you cannot find anyone’s NAME on the website, that’s a big RED FLAG A = Author A = Author: Sometimes questionable internet sources do not give the identity or credentials of the author or producer. A = Author A = Author: If you have a source with NO NAME or NO CORRESPONDING ORGANIZATION , do not use that source! No way am I putting my name on THAT !! A = Author A = Author: Identify the author(s) A PERSON An ORGANIZATION A = Author A = Author: A PERSON What are his/her credentials ? Does he/she have sufficient expertise to speak on the subject? Author's occupation / position ? Author’s education ? Author’s affiliation with a known institution or organization ? A = Author A = Author: An ORGANIZATION Who are the leaders ? What is the mission of the organization? Is it a national or international institution? What is its membership ? Is it endorsed by or affiliated with other organizations? Does it have a “ parent ” organization? A = Author A = Author: An ORGANIZATION Check the organization's home page to make sure it has a postal address and phone number available . If it does not, the site is probably not a credible source. Look for any product advertising on the site – ads can reveal what’s important to the organization A = Author A = Author: A = Author “.org” can be tricky… Most organizations have a purpose or mission , and this means they may present a biased view. A = Author: A = Author “.org” can be tricky… For example: The Beef Industry ( www.beef.org ) is an organization made up of people in the meat industry. The Vegetarian Society ( www.vegsoc.org ) is an organization promoting vegetarianism. Both are legitimate “.org ” sites, but they present very different views about meat. A = Author: A = Author “.org” can be tricky… Not all “.org” sites are reliable! Many helpful organizations and charities with good intentions have “.org” addresses, but some organizations promote prejudice, criminal activity, or harmful behavior . Yikes! A = Author: How to verify an author: Look at the source to see if it tells you anything about the author's credentials. “About us” “About the author” “Author Bio” “Mission Statement” “Who we are” A = Author A = Author: How to verify an author: Use a search engine (such as Google or Yahoo) to find information about the author(s) Do a “ Who is ” search at www.whois.net to determine the website’s registered domain A = Author A = Accuracy : A = Accuracy The CRAAP Test A = Accuracy: A = Accuracy Accuracy: The reliability , truthfulness , and correctness of the informational content. Scary. A = Accuracy: A = Accuracy Where does the information come from? Did the author conduct an experiment? Is the author reporting his/her observations? Does the site rely on expert testimony? A = Accuracy: A = Accuracy Does the author support his or her statements with data or works cited ? Are any original sources of information listed? A = Accuracy: A = Accuracy Look at the LINKS on the site What kinds of links are listed? Are the links relevant and appropriate for the site? Do the links go to internal pages on the same site or to other websites ? A = Accuracy: A = Accuracy Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors ? Can you verify any of the information in independent sources or from your own knowledge? A = Accuracy: A = Accuracy Can you find any cases where the author has plagiarized other sources? In other words, has the author used other authors' words or ideas without properly citing them, so as to pass them off as original ideas? P = Purpose: P = P urpose The CRAAP Test P = Purpose: P = Purpose Purpose: Why the site was created: To inform ? To promote an ideology? To enlighten ? P = Purpose: P = Purpose Informational websites present verifiable information without bias The best informational websites have a neutral tone Information can include: facts expert opinions statistics case studies experiment results P = Purpose: P = Purpose Look for bias/opinion “Bias” is not a negative term – it simply means that one has a certain perspective or point of view P = Purpose: P = Purpose Look for bias/opinion Are possible biases clearly stated ? Are editorials clearly labeled? Is the purpose of the page stated ? Are strong words used, such as “murder” to describe eating meat? P = Purpose: P = Purpose Is the tone (whether serious, humorous, critical, etc.) and writing style of the source appropriate for the purpose and audience? P = Purpose: P = Purpose Tone is conveyed via word choice: P = Purpose: P = Purpose What’s the point of the site? Is the site supposed to be educational ? Is it entertaining ? Does the site attempt to change the opinions of an audience with opposing viewpoints? P = Purpose: P = Purpose Is the site “for profit”? Is the site trying to sell something ? Is advertising content vs. informational content easily distinguishable? Are donations being solicited? P = Purpose: P = Purpose When you think about Purpose , ask: WHY was this site created? CRAAP Test: CRAAP Test So, when you evaluate a website, put it through the CRAAP Test! CRAAP Test: CRAAP Test C = C urrency R = R elevance A = A uthor A = A ccuracy P = P urpose End of Presentation! : End of Presentation! The CRAAP Test Wait…that was it? You were expecting something else?