Evaluating Internet Sources: Designated Skeptics
This is a short, engaging activity suitable for learners of all levels. In it, students evaluate web sources that are provided by an instructor using the acronym CRAAP (currency, relevance, accuracy, authority, and purpose). Students work together in groups and explore evaluation processes aloud, with guidance from the CRAAP cards and the instructor. This is an adaptation of various evaluating sources activities available in LIS literature and professional resources. This activity is ideally implemented as a kind of collaborative game moderated by the instructor. It is highly adaptable.
Students are grouped into 5 groups - one for each criterion of CRAAP. Each group will receive a CRAAP card or 3x5 index card/ handout/ other with evaluation questions pertaining to Currency, Relevance, Accuracy, Authority, and Purpose – different for each table. These are the "designated skeptics" of their criterion. They set out as skeptics and they are explicitly challenged to be challenging, and the rest of the class is directed to challenge them as well with probing open-ended questions.
A source will be shared with the class on the projector. These sources will include scholarly articles, websites (blogs and orgs), and reference entries. It is essential that the instructor select sources that are relevant to their students (either by course, subject, or level) and that would be likely results on a student Internet search for a research topic/ question.
Each group will evaluate the source aloud on the single criterion they’ve been assigned. If it “passes,” then the source gets asked the next question. If it “fails,” the source is dismissed. The criterion can be called out in order - that is, according to CRAAP - but they can also be called out randomly to be evaluated.
This activity can be repeated with various websites or web sources.