According to Nicholas C. Burbules, “…. the Web is not an ordinary reference system; it poses some unique and, in many respects, unprecedented conditions that complicate the task of sorting out dependable from undependable information–and even complicates the notion that we have a clear sense of that distinction. How to differentiate credible from fraudulent information is not a new problem, but unraveling these in the context of a vast rapidly changing networked system is.” (Paradoxes of the Web: The Ethical Dimensions of Credibility, Library Trends, Wntr 2001 v49 i3 p441, Introduction).
Were currently working on developing an article to help you analyze and evaluate information posted on the internet. The goal is to teach you how to evaluate sources of information, how to become a skeptic and how to utilize the C.R.A.P test. C.R.A.P. is an acronym for Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose and Point of View.
- An evaluation strategy regarding evidence of insight, understanding or reflective thought about the topic.
- An evaluation strategy to determine a specific viewpoint. The importance of the use of supporting documentation, sources and examples.
- An evaluation strategy to determine the quality of a posting; does the posting reflect an awareness of effective communication?
- Are postings updated or corrected if proven false? Are mistakes acknowledged?
- Is there a hierarchy that encourages the dissemination of erroneous information?
- How to identify bias. Is there an emotional, business or financial connection with the subject? Is there a historical connection or a failed business opportunity? Are postings inspired from a loss of employment or partnership? Is revenge involved?
- Is there a funding source or sponsor behind the site?
- How to evaluate motives.
- Exposing hidden agendas.
- Are postings slanted and present only one side of a topic? Are topics honestly acknowledged and addressed with alternative information when facts are in controversy? Are there competing interpretations? Is the entire story being told or just some of the facts?
- How to recognize propaganda, rhetoric and misinformation.
- Evaluating and/or questioning the recommended business connections. Are recommendations tied to kick-backs or another compensatory scheme? Do they endorse or recommend particular services or businesses?
- Measuring the degree of self-promotion.