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EDU 20000 Examining Self as Teacher

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Denise Buhr
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Information Services and Instruction Librarian
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Evaluating Sources

Judging Sources: Is Your Web Site Credible?

The Web is a vast landscape featuring a mix of research, facts, opinions, and information meant to entertain, persuade, or even deceive. How can you guarantee quality when anybody can publish anything, any time, without the benefits and constraints of scholarly peer review? As a critical consumer of information, you must be careful to judge whether each resource is worth your time and attention.

When you search for information, especially on the Web, you're going to find lots of it... but is it credible? You will have to judge this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. CRAAP is an acronym that reminds you to ask questions about the information's Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. Keep in mind that the following list is not static or complete. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So ask yourself, Is your Web site credible? or is it a bunch of...?!

Currency: The timeliness of the information.

When was the information published or posted?
Has the information been revised or updated?
Is the information current or out of date for your topic?
Are the links functional?

Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.

Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
Who is the intended audience?
Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e., not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?

Authority: The source of the information.

Who is the author / publisher / source / sponsor?
Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
What does the URL reveal about the author or source? Examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.

Where does the information come from?
Is the information supported by evidence?
Has the information been reviewed or refereed by others with the appropriate expertise?
Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
Does the language or tone seem biased or emotional?
Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: The reason the information exists.

What is the purpose for presenting this information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
Do the authors / sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
Are there any obvious political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

These criteria and portions of the introduction have been adapted with permission from the CRAAP Test developed in 2003 at the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico, and posted at http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/evalsites.html.

ISTE Standards

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®)