Evaluating sources

Is the information you found good enough to use in your assignment? Check out the CRAAP and SIFT evaluation strategies.

CRAAP evaluation strategy

When you search for information, you are going to find lots of it, but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself and you can use the following principles as a guide. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need.

Currency

  • When was it published?
  • Are their references current?
  • Is currency important for your assignment topic?

Relevance

  • Does the information relate to your topic?
  • What audience is it written for?
  • Is the content at an appropriate level for my needs, e.g., scholarly resources for academic writing?

Authority

  • Who is the author or organisation?
  • Are they qualified or an expert in their field?
  • Is it edited or peer-reviewed?
  • Does the URL reveal or tell you anything, e.g., .com .edu .gov .org?

Accuracy

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Does the site have links to other reliable sites on the topic?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source?
  • Are there errors or broken links?

Purpose

  • What is the purpose of the information? Advertising? Scholarly work? Opinion?
  • Is there bias?

SIFT evaluation strategy

Using SIFT helps combat evolving disinformation threats, misinformation concerns and fake news. Use these steps to help you get closer to the truth.

Stop

  • Ask yourself whether you recognise the information source and if you know about the claim’s credibility or the website’s reputation.

Investigate the source

  • Take time to identify where this information comes from and to consider the creator’s expertise and agenda. Is this source worth your time? Look at what others have said about the source to help with you these questions.

Find better or other coverage

  • Sometimes it’s less important to know about the source and more importance to assess their claim. Look for credible sources, compare information across sources and determine whether there appears to be a consensus.

Trace back to the source; see the original context

  • Often online information has been removed from its original context. Trace the information back to the original source in order to recontextualise it.
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