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How do I: Evaluate websites & information sources?

This guide covers Information, Media, and Digital Literacy concepts and Digital Citizenship Gr. 7-8 students, as well as teachers & parents.

Evaluate Websites & Information Sources

Intro Video

Wikipedia: How to Evaluate it and Use it Wisely

Web IQ Quiz: What do you know?

Find the "Best" Information: Apply the C.R.A.A.P. Test!

Reference: Pilliro, Chris.  (2009).  Fitz & Pirillo.  Retreived from www.blaugh.com  

Evaluate your Information

Not all information in books or online is true, accurate or related to the topic that you are researching. 
 
Like a detective you must ask yourself questions about the Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority and Purpose of an information resource before you will know if the resource is "safe" to use.  This is called the C.R.A.A.P. Test.
 
Currency
 
Ask: When was this website, article or book written or last updated?  Is this information 'old news' that may have been updated or corrected?
  • Note: Older books can still be appropriate for research, particularly in subjects like History.  However, be careful that 'older' information has not been proved wrong in more recent years.
Relevance
 
Ask: Does this information help me understand my topic? 
  • Note: Differnt types of information sources (i.e. Reference SourcesPrimary Sources and Secondary Sources) provide different types of information.  If you are unable to find the information that you want, maybe you are looking in the wrong type of source.
Accuracy
 
Ask: Is the information correct, complete and without errors? 
  • Note: One way to check for accuracy is to look at the evidence or examples provided by a writer. 
Authority
 
Ask: Can the writer be trusted?
  • Note: Find out who the writer or producer of the information is (e.g. an author, a teacher, a professional organization, a government organization, etc.).  Does the experience or credentials of the writer make them an "expert" or trusted person in this subject area?  Or, is the organization that produced the information trustworthy?
Purpose
 
Ask: Why was this information produced?
  • Note: Information is created by different people/groups for different reasons.  It can be created to inform, explain or persuade.  Be aware of any biases that the writer or producer of the information may have.  Consider if this bias is unbalanced or should be included in your work.
References:
      
      University of Guelph Library.  (2013).  Choose the Best Info.  Retrieved from http://guides.lib.uoguelph.ca/content.php?pid=472723&sid=4191758 
 
      California State University, Chico: Merriam Library.  (2013).  Successful Research @ Merriam Library: Evaluating Information.  Retrieved from http://libguides.csuchico.edu/content.php?pid=326243&sid=2669613 
 
*The above references are in APA format.

Find Reliable Websites

Questions to Ask:

  • Is this informaiton meant to:
    • Teach;
    • Inform;
    • Persuade;
    • Entertain; or
    • Sell a product?
  • Do the creators of the website make their intentions clear?  
    • Tip: Read the website's "About Us" section to find out.
  • Is the information fact or opinion?  
  • Is there advertizing on the site?  
  • Does the point of view show bias?
    • Tip: Consider if the website is being objective.  Is the author only telling one side of the story?
  • ​What does the website's URL tell you about the site?

What is a url?

A url is the address where a website lives on the internet.  A url can also be called a link.

 

What is the difference between "http" and "https?"

The letters "http" normally go before the "www" prefix of a url.  When you see "https" it means that the information shared on that website will be kept secure.

What is a website domain extention?

A domain extension is found at end the website's url, it is the url suffix. The url is the website's internet address and the domain extension gives you information about who owns the site.  For example, if the website is owned by a company, an educational institution, or the government.

 

Some common domain extensions and what they mean:

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