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STEM Starter Academy : Library 2018

Welcome to the STEM Research Guide. Here you will find links to important resources related to the topics you're exploring in your STEM Starter Academy.

Evaluating Internet Sources - Climate Change

You have done a Google search to check on a claim made by a notable celebrity that challenges a prominent scientific theory. You don't know much about science but this is something you've heard before and you've decided that its time to learn about it. The claim is: "Climate Change isn't real. It was invented to hurt American businesses."

You have done two searches- one search was climate change real  and another search was climate change fake.
The following are websites that came up on the first page of results for both Google searches.

Using CRAAP to help you evaluate, you will determine a source is credible or not credible.

Your Assignment

Working in groups of two or three, click the links above to view each source. Select two sources from the list.  One of the sources should be a “good source,” and the other source should be a “bad source.” Using the worksheet on the back of the CRAAP handout, evaluate each source and give it a score for each of the criteria. Working as a team, report out and explain why you have determined that the source is either “good” or “bad" .

 Here is an example:

One of the reasons this source isn't reliable is that it lacks authority. The author makes assumptions about the behavior of autistic children but isn't an expert in autism, child behavioral psychology, or a related field. He/she also does not cite any experts in the field.

CRAAP Test

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?
     
  •      examples: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (U.S. government),
  •                .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, 

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = worst, 10=best possible) you can give each site a grade on a 50 point scale for how high-quality it is!

45 - 50 Excellent | 40 - 44 Good | 35 - 39 Average | 30 - 34 Borderline Acceptable | Below 30 - Unacceptable

Note: all credit for the CRAAP test goes to the librarians who developed it at CSU Chico.

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