This is a useful tool to help students consider the credibility and worth of resources they may use in academic reading and writing. There are five questions to ask of any piece of writing you are considering:
1. Currency – How up to date is this? When was this published or put online? Has it been updated? Do the links work? Do I need my information to be timely for my work?
2. Relevance – Is this relevant to your topic? Is the text at a high enough level for your purposes?
3. Authority – Who is the author? What is their background? Are they biased? What does the URL tell us (.com, .ac.uk)?
4. Accuracy – Is it accurate? Does it use evidence to support it? Is the English well written? Does it have references?
5. Purpose – Is this trying to inform, teach, sell, entertain etc.? Does it read as impartial or biased?
Talk through the pitfalls of using online resources by starting with the Essential Question “Is everything on the internet now fake news?”
The aim of the discussion is to identify safe resources, sites suitable for preliminary research but not final reporting (such as Wikipedia) and useful/essential sites.
You can use this tool to describe the process of searching for online resources, to question a source that students are using in class and to enable students to evaluate their own sources.
At the start of a module, you may wish to explain the process of questioning a source. Give the students a website to look at and read and then ask the CRAAP questions. They could use the CRAAP worksheet (linked below) to write down their findings. Do the students think this source is reliable and therefore suitable to use?
Ask the students to find an online source to help answer a question you pose to them.
Ask them to use CRAAP to assess their choice. They could do this solo or in groups/pairs. Different groups could work on different questions and you could then jigsaw all the information together to create a whole picture. Try and make this search relevant to either the assessment and/or their interests.
With large groups, you can either run this as a solo activity and then put students into groups to discuss/adjust their decisions or you could have small-group discussions which contribute to a whole-group activity of generating one list.
Students will be questioning the usefulness of sources and hopefully not citing Wikipedia in their essays!
Always ask students to recap CRAAP when using any new resource you give in class. This way you are embedding the skill, asking students to recall the system and seeing it in action in the class.
The CRAAP test library services for international students. Available at: https://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=loexquarterly
Evaluating Information –Applying the CRAAP Test available at: https://library.csuchico.edu/sites/default/files/craap-test.pdf
This tool is also referenced in the BIMM Study Skills Guide.
Image for use on slides etc.: www.musostudy.com/resources/3SS/craap.png
Visual reminders to cut up and place with texts, on laptop etc.: www.musostudy.com/resources/3SS/CRAAPbookmark.pdf
Worksheet with space to write tutor instructions and students to write their six elements: www.musostudy.com/resources/3SS/CRAAPworksheet.pdf
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