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CRAAP Detection: Criteria for Evaluating Information

War on Bullshit

  Questions to Ask Web Issues

Currency


How recent is the information?

Is it current enough for your topic? 

Has it been updated or revised?

Is the publication/copyright date clearly labeled?


  • Dates not always included on Web pages
  • If included, a date may have various meanings:
  1. Date information first written
  2. Date information placed on Web
  3. Date information last revised

Relevance


Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?

Is it easy to navigate and read?

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?

Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Are the topics included explored in depth?


  • Is there a contents page, site map, navigation bar?
  • Is it easy to navigate and read?
  • Are special plug-ins required?
  • Is there a way to return to the "home page" to determine the source of the information?
  • Often hard to determine extent of  Web coverage

Authority


Who is the author or creator?

What are the author's qualifications and credentials for writing about this subject?

How reputable is the publisher? 

Are there organization affiliations? And are they reputable?

Does the information provide references or sources for data or quotations?


  • Often difficult to determine authorship of Web sources 
  • Search engines may retrieve pages out of context making it difficult to know where you are
  • If author's name is listed, his/her qualifications are frequently absent 
  • Publisher responsibility often not indicated or easily found

Accuracy


Where does the information come from?

How reliable and free from error is the information? How do you know?

Were there editors and fact checkers?

Is the information supported by evidence?

Has the information been reviewed or refereed?

Can you verify the information in another source or from personal knowledge?

Is the content primarily opinion? Or is it balanced with multiple points of view?

Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?


  • Anyone can publish on the Web
  • Web resources may not be verified by editors or checked for accuracy
  • No standards yet developed
  • Web pages move. If you quote this source, will it be available later?
  • Web pages are susceptible to accidental and deliberate alteration

Purpose / Point of View


Is the information presented with a minimum of bias? Is this fact or opinion?

Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?

Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

To what extent is the information trying to sway the opinion of the audience?

Who is responsible for its dissemination?

What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?

Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?


  • Goals and aims of the people or groups presenting material is often unclear
  • Web often functions as a "virtual soapbox" 
  • Distinction between advertising and information is blurred on Web

 

See also:
CRAAP Test Worksheet
Crap Detection 101 by Howard Rheingold