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News Literacy: Evaluating Sources

Resources for faculty, instructors, and graduate students to teach news literacy skills.

Evaluating Sources


Evaluating Information with the CRAAP Method

Information is literally at our fingertips.  But finding good information can be a little trickier.  By applying the CRAAP method when you evaluate sources, you will be able to differentiate between the good, the bad, and the ugly.  CRAAP stands for Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.  Use the questions posed below on your sources to see if they stack up! 

And remember, use the CRAAP Method on all information you come across!  


Currency

When was the information created? How old is too old?  Does the currency of the information matter? Has the material been updated or revised?  

Consider the importance of currency for the following sources: 

  • An article on cancer treatments written in 1970
  • A historical analysis of the Revolutionary War written in 1982
  • A book on computer programming written in 1995 

 

Relevance

Is the information related to your research?  Does the information support your assignment?  Did you look at only one source?  Who is this written for?   

How relevant would the following sources be for your paper? 

  • a popular magazine article
  • the first 5 results in Google
  • the first 5 results in Discovery or one of the library's other databases

 

Authority

Who or what created the information?  Who or what is publishing the information?  What credentials, education, affiliations, or experience does the information creator have to write on this topic?  Can you find information about the author easily?  What can we tell from the domain of the website where the information has been published?  

Are the following authoritative sources? 

  • a tweet about a salmonella outbreak by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) 
  • a peer-reviewed article on medical marijuana written by a team of scientists 
  • The National Association of Social Workers' website and blog 

 

Accuracy

Is this information factual? Has it been peer-reviewed?  Is the information supported by evidence?  Does the author credit their sources?  Are there grammatical or spelling errors?  

Consider what these points might mean for a resource's accuracy:

  • numerous citations found throughout 
  • misuse of "they're" 
  • emotional language and tone 
  • unable to verify the information anywhere else 

 

Purpose 

Why was this information created?  Was the information created to inform, teach, sell, entertain, or persuade you?  Is the purpose made clear? 

Remember: information can have political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal bias.  Is it fact, opinion, or propaganda?

What do you think the purpose of the following could be? 

  • an article written by Apple about the picture quality of the iPhone7
  • an article published by the NRA on gun control
  • a study funded by Coca-Cola on the connection between sugar and depression 

 

The CRAAP Method was developed by Meriam Library at California State University.

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