Evaluating information is an essential part of the research process. You need to be sure that the information you have found is reliable.
This section will cover:
When you search, remember that not all resources contain quality information. Some information may be inaccurate, biased, misleading, outdated or irrelevant.
It is important to critically evaluate the information you find to ensure that you use the best sources in your assignments. One way to do this is to use a series of questions or criteria, such as the C.R.A.A.P. Test, developed by the California State University, Chico.
C.R.A.A.P. stands for:
Currency - When was the information published? Is it outdated?
Relevance - Does the information meet the requirements of your assignment? Does it support your arguments?
Authority - Does the author have the right credentials and experience to write about the topic?
Accuracy - Are the facts verifiable and is evidence provided for assertions made?
Purpose - What is the author's intent? To inform? Teach? Sell? Entertain? Persuade?
Watch this video from the University of South Australia to learn more about how to evaluate information.
University of South Australia 2017, Study help: evaluating information, YouTube, 22 October, University of South Australia, Adelaide, viewed 8 January 2020, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2U3dkTLjuvE&feature=emb_logo>.
Google is a great starting point for your assessment and the only place to find certain types of information such as government and organisational reports and policy documents. However, not all Google sources are trustworthy.
Watch this video to find out why Google isn't the only place you should search for information.
RMIT University 2019, Why can't I just Google it?, YouTube, 1 March, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 4 December 2019, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVwJcrFMaqA&t=15s>.
When researching your assignments, you also need to be wary of deliberately created misinformation and 'fake news'. Some news stories that appear to be genuine may actually be hoaxes or lies created with the intention to deceive readers and viewers.
This infographic from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) provides some useful strategies to help you evaluate news stories and determine which are legitimate and which are not.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 2017, How to spot fake news, image, accessed 3 December 2019, <https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174>.
Fact-checking websites also help to combat the dissemination of 'fake news'.
RMIT University has partnered with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to provide the RMIT ABC Fact Check service. Other fact-checking sites include Snopes, The Conversation, FactCheck.org, Politifact, The Washington Post Fact-Checker and Fullfact.org.