What Does Bad Information Look Like? Using the CRAAP Test for Evaluating Substandard Resources
The CRAAP Test (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose), is a popular tool among academic librarians for instructing students in resource evaluation. Its applicability to web-based information makes it particularly useful for students as they think about information they encounter both inside and outside of scholastic settings. However, while students may be capable of explaining concepts like bias, authority, and scholarly publications, when it comes to questions of reliability they may have limited experience. For instance, students may have no trouble recognizing high quality resources, but still have difficulty identifying those characteristics that signify an unreliable or substandard resource. In an undergraduate science writing course, the CRAAP Test was introduced to students, who then used the test in a group activity to evaluate a resource that failed key aspects of the test. This activity engages students in how to critically evaluate resources and provides useful feedback for instructors on those evaluative concepts that remain unclear.
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