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FYS 100 Yeats Fall 2017: Evaluating Information

Crap detection

“Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him."    
          ~Ernest Hemingway, 1954

Why Evaluate web sources?

  • Anyone with a little time, some knowledge and small amount of money can publish on the Internet.
  • No person, persons or organization reviews the content of the Internet.
  • Pages are retrieved by search engines based on the page's content, not the relevancy or quality of the page.
  • Much information on the Web is not updated regularly.

It’s up to YOU to sort the accurate bits from the misinfo, disinfo, spam, scams, urban legends, and hoaxes. “Crap detection,” as Hemingway called it half a century ago, is more important than ever before.

The Gingrich Guide has more information on evaluating source material.

Quick Tips:

Google's advanced search allows you to search by domain name (on bottom line of the advanced search form).

Entering .edu or .gov into this line will only return results from educational or US government sites, which tend to contain more reliable scholarly or factual information.

Google Scholar uses Google's search interface to find academic sources without the commercial aspects of plain Google.

C.R.A.A.P. Test

The C.R.A.A.P test is a way to evaluate a source based on the following criteria: Currency, Reliability, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose/Point of View.  Below are some questions to help you think about how to measure each of the criteria.

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • How recently has the website been updated?
  • Is it current enough for your topic?

Reliability

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Is content of the resource primarily opinion?  Is is balanced?
  • Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority

  • Who is the creator or author?
  • What are the credentials?
  • Who is the published or sponsor?
  • Are they reputable?
  • What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?
  • Are there advertisements on the website?

Accuracy

  • Are there citations to the sources of the information?
  • Are these sources reputable?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

Purpose/Point of View

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is it biased?
  • Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

(from the LOEX Wiki)

Websites: Can you trust what's on the net?

Most of the time when you are searching databases provided by a school or university, the content has a good chance of being reliable. 

However, when searching the internet via Google or other search engines, the chances of finding unreliable sites is much higher.

Check out this website and apply the C.R.A.A.P. test to it: Feline Reactions to Bearded Men of Beard Type #55G

  • Does this seem like an authoritative website? Why or why not?

Use critical thinking skills and evaluate the websites you find!

Video: Evaluating Sources

Instructional Services & Outreach Librarian

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Charlie Colombo
Contact:
Gingrich Library
Room M-09
(610) 921-7207