As Karl Fisch once said, "We are living in exponential times." The sheer volume of information that's available to us can be overwhelming. Information is readily available and readily produceable. Information on topics that interest us can be found with just a few clicks of a mouse (or touch pad), but how do we decide which information to use? How do we know if it's accurate, completely wrong, or polluted mix of the two?
Producing information used to be costly, difficult, time-consuming. Now it's easy. Everyone can do it - but that means everyone has to evaluate it, too.
Can you identify the author/publisher of the information?
Can you trust an entirely anonymous source? Why or why not?
Does the author/publisher quote trustworthy sources? Why or why not?
What are this author’s/publisher’s credentials? Can you find them? What is their reputation? What are other people saying about them?
Purpose & Perspective
How has this author’s/publisher’s perspective shaped this information?
Is this a primary source (original documents, original research), a secondary source (discussion or summarizing of primary source, published later), or a tertiary source of information (collections of primary and secondary information, such as encyclopedias)?
Is this an opinion piece/editorial? Are multiple sides of an issue represented, or only one?
What is the author or publisher’s purpose in sharing this information? Does their stated purpose match their intended purpose?
Who is the intended audience? Is it you?
Is the information accurate?
Can you get the same information from other sources? Does it match?
Are other people talking about this information? What are they saying?
Is the information primary (original, straight from a source) or derivative (copy/pasted from elsewhere and/or only presented as original)?
Evaluation criteria adapted from:
Meriam Library, California State University. (2010). Evaluating information - Applying the CRAAP test. Retreived from http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/evalsites.html
Mozilla. (n.d.) Web literacy. Retrieved from https://teach.mozilla.org/teach-like-mozilla/web-literacy/