Evaluating Websites: The CRAAP test
Currency – The information should be current or updated regularly. Consider: When was it produced? When was it updated? Is the information on the page outdated for your topic? Are the links current, updated regularly, or broken?
Relevance – The resource should add quality support for your argument. Consider: What does it add to your argument? Is this the best source for this information? Is the information appropriately complex? Would you be comfortable citing this source in your research paper?
Authority – The page should list the author’s credentials, provide a method of contact, and generally be a .gov, .edu, .org or .net site. Consider: Who wrote the page? What credentials are listed for author/s? Is the person qualified to write this information? Can you contact him or her? Look at the about page. What institution published the document? What qualifications do they have? Do they have a bias?
Accuracy – The information on the website should be supported by evidence, reviewed or refereed. You should be able to verify the sources used. Consider: How detailed is the information? Is the information supported by evidence? If so, are the sources cited correctly and evaluated? What types of sources are used? Can you verify them? Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?
Purpose – The webpage should provide accurate, objective information with limited advertising. Consider: Why was this written and for whom? What opinions are expressed by the author? Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion? What goals or objectives does this page meet? How much advertising is on the page?
Here are a few types of information to be aware of when interpreting your information environment:
These are the easiest to debunk and often come from known sham sites that are designed to look like real news outlets. They may include misleading photographs and headlines that, at first read, sound like they could be real.
These are the hardest to debunk, because they often contain a kernel of truth: A fact, event or quote that has been taken out of context. Look for sensational headlines that aren't supported by the information in the article.
Highly partisan news
A type of misleading news, this may be an interpretation of a real news event where the facts are manipulated to fit an agenda.
The shocking or teasing headlines of these stories trick you into clicking for more information -- which may or may not live up to what was promised.
This one is tough, because satire doesn't pretend to be real and serves a purpose as commentary or entertainment. But if people are not familiar with a satire site, they can share the news as if it is legitimate
Citation: Willngham, AJ. 2016, November 18. “Here’s How to Outsmart Fake News in Your Facebook Feed. CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/18/tech/how-to-spot-fake-misleading-news-trnd/