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Evaluating Information in the Era of "Fake News"

The CRAAP Test

One of the ways in which to tell if an information resource is reliable is by putting it through the CRAAP Test.  The CRAAP test is an acronym that stands for a series of questions you should ask yourself whenever you encounter a different information source to test its reliability.  Below are some of these evaluation criteria...

Currency:

First you will want to ask yourself: isf the information resource you are examining is current or if it is too outdated to provide valuable information?

Relevance:

Next, you wish to ask yourself if the information is relevant to your needs.  Does it answer your information question or is it not relevant for your topic?  Unfortunately, even excellent and quality articles may do little to further your information need if they are too unrelated to your topic.

Authority:

As well, you will want to ask yourself whether the author is a qualified authority on the topic in which they are writing.  Are the authors qualified to be writing on the topic?  Is there something in the background of the author that makes them an expert or a qualified source?  Or do authors lack qualifications and knowledge of the topic at hand?

Accuracy:

Next up, you will want to ask yourself if the information is accurate.  Does the article contain a bibliography or information from which they draw facts and conclusions?  Do their facts come from a reputable source or somewhere else that is less than trustworthy?  Do the authors draw logical conclusions from the fact and information in their article?  Do their conclusions make logical sense or are they making illogical leaps or fallacies?

Purpose:

Finally, you will want to ask 'what is the purpose of the article?'  Is the article meant to inform, entertain, or persuade?  Are the authors giving you only biased view of the topic or are they giving you all of the facts?  A bias article is not inherently bad, but it may be only telling a part of the story.

 

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