Monday, October 10, 2011

Evaluating Online Sources: The CRAP Test

Question: How can students evaluate online sources for the purposes of research/

Answer/Quote: “There is so much information on the Web posted by so many different people. How do you know if something is accurate and reliable? One way to determine if the information is valid is to use the CRAP test. For this test, you will surf the Internet to Find a Web page.” P. 71.

I. Description of your search:

>What is your topic?

>What search engine(s) did you use?

>What key words did you use to do your search?

>How many hits (results) did you get?

>How many sites did you look at? Did you go beyond the 1 page of results?


A. Content

>Coose one of your sites. Copy and paste the URL below.

> Is the URL from an ‘org,’ ‘edu,’ ‘com,’ Or ‘gov”?

>Is the information fact or opinion?

>Is the information documented? Explain.

>Is the page well written? Is it well proofed and error free?

>Now go the root of the Web page by omitting everything after the gov or com in the URL (ex. Once you are on the root’s homepage look for an ‘about us’ or ‘information’ that gives insight about the host. What do you learn? Does it add or take away from the page’s credibility? Explain.

B. Recency

>How old is the information? How often is it updated?

>Are the links on the page working or ‘dead’?

>Does the web site include references to mostly current or out-of-date information?

C. Author

>Who is the author of this site? Is it a person? Organization?

>Is the author/organization qualified to write on the subject? Explain.

>Can the author/organization be contacted for further information?

>What biases does/might the author bring to the information? Why is the author writing about the subject? Explain.

D. Purpose

>What is the purpose of this information? Inform? Persuade? Entertain?

>Does the author/organization make his/her purpose  or intentions clear?

>Who is the intended audience for this information (for a hint, go back to the root of the page)? Explain.

 III. Overall Assessment

> On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being least reliable ‘it’s crap’ and 10 being most reliable ‘it’s expert information’). What would you rank this site and why?”
pp. 71 & 72.

Comment: In addition to the CRAP analysis of online sources, this article also supplies an easy-to-follow guide to documenting sources online and in traditional media. RayS.

Title: “A Personal Touch: Embedding Library Faculty into Online English 102.” Casey Kadavy and Kim Chuppa-Cornell. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (September 2011), 63-77.

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