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Prof. Maroney - English 101 - Fall 2023: Evaluate Sources

Credibility vs. Correctness

How do we know if the information we're reading is correct? We don't have time to repeat the scientific experiment we're reading about, nor do we have the resources to go into the field and study the particular phenomenon being discussed. Instead, we want to make sure that our sources are credible, meaning we should have good reason to believe that the information is true. 

Credibility

  • the quality of being believable or worthy of trust

Correctness

  • conformity to fact or truth; freedom from error; accuracy

These concepts are related, but not identical. If a source is credible, what it says is usually correct; and if a source is correct often enough, we tend to think they’re credible. But you should always read your sources with a skeptical eye. 

 

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- How recently was the source published? Or how recently was it updated?

Relevance- Does the information relate to your topic? Is it at the right level?

Authority- Who is the author or creator of the source? What are their qualifications? Are these qualifications clearly displayed?

Accuracy- Is the information supported by evidence? Has it been peer-reviewed? Can you confirm the information based on your personal knowledge or by comparing it to other sources? Does the tone sound objective, or do you detect a hint of bias?

Purpose-  what is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, entertain, or persuade?

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