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Islamic Art and Architecture 21:082:290: Evaluating Internet Information Sources

A research guide for students of the Islamic Art and Architecture class at Rutgers-Newark

The Media Bias Chart & the C.R.A.P. Test

The C.R.A.A.P. test 

The C.R.A.A.P. test is a diagnostic test you can use to evaluate information sources when you encounter them in an unfamiliar or uncurated environment. For each source you are considering for use in your research - especially a web site -  you must evaluate its authority and accuracy, whether or not it's advocating a particular agenda or it is an objective source, how up-to-date the information is, its depth of coverage, and its intended audience. C.R.A.A.P. stands for Currency, Reliability, Authority Accuracy and Purpose/Point of View.

For example, if you write a paper about gun violence and you want to use the National Rifle Association web site, you must be aware that they have a very particular political agenda for which they advocate (Purpose/Point of View), that they may only be aiming some of their content at NRA members (Purpose/Point of View), examine any data to make sure that it's up-to-date (Currency), and examine any data they provide to determine whether or not it covers all aspects of gun violence  and its information is coming from reputable sources (Reliability) (Authority) (Accuracy).

The original article by Sarah Blakeslee introduces the CRAAP test as an information quality metric. Blakeslee, Sarah (2004) "The CRAAP Test," LOEX Quarterly: Vol. 31 : Iss. 3 , Article 4. Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/loexquarterly/vol31/iss3/4

Media Bias Chart 4.0 Informative chart that maps out biases of news sources.

Vanessa Otero, 2018. "Media Bias Chart 4.0" Ad fontes media. Retrieved from https://www.adfontesmedia.com/intro-to-the-media-bias-chart/

 

Questions to Ask in Web Site Evaluation

Questions to Ask in Web Site Evaluation

Authority and Accuracy

  • Who is the author(s); is the author an  authority on the topic; is the information correct? 
  • Is there an .edu, .gov or .mil at the end of the domain name?
    • is this a home page on a .edu site? 
  • Is it an official Web page? Organization logo's can be copied.
  • Does the site provide information about the authors, or do you know the authors’ reputation?
  • Can you verify the material with a 2nd or 3rd source?

Advocacy and Objectivity

  • Is it a ".com"  site? Some .com's provide valid information.Use your judgement to cut through the self-promotion, the same way you would when you watch a video or see an advertisement promoting a product.
  • Does the site state it’s point of view? Do you know enough about the topic to determine the point of view yourself?
    • for example, who owns martinlutherking. org?

Currency

  • Is the site current?
  • Are most of the links still functioning?
  • Have events occurred invalidating the site's information?

Coverage

  • Does the page include all the material you expect it to cover?
  • Do you know enough about the topic to adequately judge what may be missing?
  • Does the page include all the material it claims to cover?

Audience

  • Can you determine the audience the material intends to address, e.g., age, gender, political view, profession?
Reliability
  • What kind of information does the source contain?
  • Is the information included coming from reliable sources?
  • Is the source of the information being cited? Can you trace it back to its origins?

 

Questions posed here are from the LibGuide, Basic Web Site Evaluation by Eileen Steck of the Rutgers University Douglass Library.

Methods for Evaluting Web Sites

Methods for Evaluating Web Sites

Authority and Accuracy

  • Does the domain name give you any hints?
    • at some point an authoritative web site may link out to another site entirely--keep reading the URL
  • If the site is authored by an organization, is the organization familiar to you?
  • Has the author published in the same field the website covers? Check for books or journal articles by the author in either the Library Catalog or an academic index such as "Academic Search Premier?"
  • Is the website vetted by a trusted source:

Advocacy and Objectivity

  • Who owns the domain name? http://www.whois.sc/
  • Is the page a satire or hoax?
  • Check for journal articles about the author or the organization in an academic index such as "Academic Search Premier".

Currency

  • Look for a “last updated” notice. If "last updated" isn't noted, when was the page copyrighted?

Coverage

  • What information is missing, if any?

Audience

  • The vocabulary used may indicate who the site appeals to.
    • technical language for a specific profession
    • language for a young audience
  • The "about section" may indicate the target audience.
  • How the main topic is approached--would it appeal to a specific audience? What is that audience?

 

Questions posed here are from the LibGuide, Basic Web Site Evaluation by Eileen Steck of the Rutgers University Douglass Library.

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