|Evaluating information is a critical part of the research process and is a valuable skill that will help you in everyday use of information.
Developing this skill now will help you long after you have graduated.
Many criteria can be used to evaluate information, and we will focus on three:
Who is responsible for writing the material? What are their credentials?
How does this information relate to my topic? Will it help me to make a point?
Was the information researched and written at a time apporpriate to your topic?
The CRAAP Test is a common checklist used to evaluate an informaiton resource.
Currency: The timeliness of the web page.
Relevance: The uniqueness of the content and its importance for your needs.
Authority: The source of the web page.
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the informational content.
Purpose: The presence of bias or prejudice/The reason the web site exists.
The CRAAP Test was created by Meriam Library at California State University, Chico.
What is Fake News?
There are four broad categories of fake news, according to media professor Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College.
CATEGORY 1: Fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media. Some of these websites may rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.
CATEGORY 2: Websites that may circulate misleading and/or potentially unreliable information
CATEGORY 3: Websites which sometimes use clickbait-y headlines and social media descriptions
CATEGORY 4: Satire/comedy sites, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but have the potential to be shared as actual/literal news
No single topic falls under a single category - for example, false or misleading medical news may be entirely fabricated (Category 1), may intentionally misinterpret facts or misrepresent data (Category 2), may be accurate or partially accurate but use an alarmist title to get your attention (Category 3) or may be a critique on modern medical practice (Category 4.) Some articles fall under more than one category. Assessing the quality of the content is crucial to understanding whether what you are viewing is true or not. It is up to you to do the legwork to make sure your information is good.
Professor Zimdar's Google Doc includes a list of identified sources of fake, misleading news and satire
Compare these two links. Which one do you think is true? Why or why not?
1 - Eat This Not That: Shocking Facts About Farmed Salmon
2 - Washington State Department of Health: Farmed vs. Wild Salmon