In an age of limitless information, available in under a second, being able to identify relevant, reliable and accurate information is an important skill for any 21st century learner.
In preparation for their upcoming science project, all year 9 classes are in the process of having a lesson in evaluating online sources using the CRAAP method.
But what is CRAAP?
The CRAAP Test is an acronym used to critically evaluate online sources through exploring the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose of information.
Currency refers to the timeliness of information. Students need to consider how old the information is and whether or not it has been pre-published or updated? When looking at currency it is also important to consider the nature of the information you are looking for. This can be a little tricky depending on the subject area. For example, in most science subjects current information is considered to be three to five years old. However, for some areas of history a source can still be considered ‘timely’ or ‘current’ even though it is over 10 years old.
With so much online information available, selecting the most relevant online sources is a particularly difficult task for most students. Relevance refers to the importance of the information for the user’s needs. So, is the information relevant to the task? Is this information too basic or too advanced?
Authority helps students work out which sources are reliable as it involves looking at the author and publisher of the source. Key questions to consider include:
- Is the information published by a government website (.gov)?
- Is the information published by a non-government organisation (.org)?
- Is the information published by a commercial business (.com)?
- Does it have an author/s listed? Are they well known in the subject area?
With information changing so quickly, accuracy is starting to play a main role in evaluating online sources. With accuracy students are exploring the correctness of the information they have researched. A good way to test accuracy can be as simple as doing a fact check, or looking at the reference list of the supporting evidence they have used in their work.
Purpose refers to why the information was published in the first place. Does the information aim to entertain? Inform? Educate? Or sell a product? The purpose of the information or website may influence the accuracy of its information!
The team at the Arthur Holt Library are here to help! Pop by the library before school, recess and lunch if you require assistance is evaluating your online sources.