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Wineberg - English 101 - Fall 2023: Evaluate Sources

Evaluating Sources

We know that not all internet sources are credible. When searching using Google, it is important to keep the CRAAP Test in mind.

Currency- You want to look for relevant hyperlinks, such as links to outside sources and page creation and/or revision dates 

Relevance- Look at the type of site. Is it a blog? Scholarly journal? Look at the URL. For example, .edu, .gov, and .org tend to be more reliable than .com and .net. If there is an about page, what does it say?

Accuracy- You want to look for sources with evidence and documentation. You do not want to see I think, I feel, I believe, in my opinion statements

Authority- You want to see if there is any information provided about the author’s credentials. Is the author qualified in the subject covered? Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution, or scholarly publisher? Is the author mentioned in, or linked from another trustworthy source? Is the web site part of an official site, or on a personal account? You want to check for clues in the URL such as if there is tilde which is often associated with personal web pages

Purpose-  You want to shy away from sources with a lot of advertisements and/or requests for money

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 such as "Top Ten Reasons" or 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.

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