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Evaluating Online Resources: Evaluating Websites

Using the CRAP test

You know how to search the internet but do you know how to figure out which websites are good resources for school? The CRAP test is any easy (and silly/memorable) way to quickly evaluate a website and help you decide if it's appropriate for a college assignment.  When searching we want to evaluate the Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose (CRAP) of websites.

  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you figure out when the information you're looking at was created, updated or published?
  • Based on your topic, is the information current enough?
  • What kind of information is included on the website?
  • Is the information accurate?
  • Is the content fact? A thing that is known or proved to be true.
  • OR is the content opinion? A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. 
  • Is the information balanced or biased?                             
  • Does the author provide references?
  • Are there links on the page? Do they work? Where do they go?
  • Who is the author / creator / producer of the site?
  • What are their credentials - Where do they work? What is their title? Do they have academic degrees in this subject?
  • Do they have experience or expertise with the topic?
  • What organization is associated with the site? Can you find their contact information?
  • What is the domain? (.com = personal pages or commercial organizations, .edu = educational institution, .org = non-profit organization, .gov = government body, .mil = military body)  
  • What is the purpose of the website? (persuade, inform, sell)
  • What is the domain? (.edu, .com, .mil, .gov, etc.) How might this effect the point of view?
  • Are there ads on the site?
  • Is the website presenting fact or opinion?
  • Who would benefit from a reader believing this website?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Authority – Author, creator, producer, or publisher.

Bias - Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Blind Trust - The “skill” of believing what you're told, regardless of what you see.

Clickbait – A sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another web page.

Cognitive Dissonance – The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes.

Confirmation Bias – The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.

Contemporary - Existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time.

Conspiracy theory – A theory that explains an event as being the result of a plot by a covert group or organization; a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a group.

Crisis Actors - a trained actor, role player, volunteer, or other person engaged to portray a disaster victim during emergency drills to train first responders such as police, firefighters or EMT personnel.

Currency – Generally accepted, used, practiced, or prevalent at the moment

Disinformation - False information that is intended to mislead, especially propaganda issued by a government organization to a rival power or the media.

Empirical Evidence – Knowledge obtained through the use of the senses.

Fact – Reality or truth – something known to exist or have happened.

Fake News – News created to deliberately deceive its audience with false information.

False Flag - Covert operations designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party (group or nation) being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.

Hoax – false information intentionally put out to deceive people.

Ideology - A system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.

Information -- knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance.

Knowledge -- acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation.

Logical Fallacy – Errors in reasoning that undermine the logic of an argument.

Misinformation - False or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.

Native Advertising - material in an online publication which resembles the publication's editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser and intended to promote the advertiser's product.

Objectivity- (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

Opinion - A belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

Peer-Review - The evaluation of work by one or more people of similar competence.

Post-Truth - Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

Primary Source – Any other source of information that was created at the time under study.

Propaganda – Bias or intentionally false information disseminated to influence public opinion for a political purpose.

Purpose – The reason the source was written.

Relevant – Closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered; appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest.

Reliable – A source you can trust.

Satirical News – News programs with comedic overtones that are intentionally funny.

Scholarly – Written by an expert in a field for an audience of other experts in that field.

Subjective - Based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Supporting Sources/Corroborating Evidence – Sources that support something said in another source.



Glossary was adapted with permission from St. Joseph’s College LibGuide URL:

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