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BUS 1010 Business Freshman Experience

Recommended resources for BUS1010 students.

How to use the CRAAP Test to Evaluate Your Sources

When you search for information, you're going to find lots of it... but is it good information? You will have to determine that for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help you evaluate the information you find. Different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. Score each category on a scale of 1-10 (1=unreliable, 10=excellent), and then add up your total.

46 - 50 = Excellent
41 - 46 = Good
36 - 40 = Average
31 - 35 = Borderline Acceptable
30 and below = Unacceptable

 Currency: The timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information, or will older sources work as well?
  • 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 citing this source in your research paper?

 Authority: The source of the information.

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or email address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net

 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 unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?

 Purpose: The reason the information exists.  

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

How to Use the SIFT Method to Evaluate Your Sources

The SIFT method consists of the following four moves:

 Stop

When you first see a source of information, stop and ask yourself whether the source is reputable. If you don’t know, use the other moves to find out. Don’t share this information until you know.

 Investigate the source

Who is the author? Do they have the expertise? What is their agenda? Do they have vested interests? Are they possibly biased?

This doesn’t mean the experts are always right or that no one with vested interests can’t be trusted, but knowing the expertise and agenda of the source is crucial.

 Find better coverage

Find multiple sources about the same topic. See if they agree or disagree with your original source. Get a sense of what the expert consensus seems to be. 

Do you have to agree with the consensus once you find it? Absolutely not. But understanding the context and history of a claim will help you better evaluate it and form a starting point for future investigation.

 Trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original context

Much of what we find on the internet has been stripped of context. It's important to trace your information back to the original source so you can see it in its original context and get a sense if the version you saw was accurately presented.