Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Wonder Team. Wonder Team Wonders, “How do you know if a source is valid?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Wonder Team!
Imagine your teacher has just assigned your class a fun project. You get to research your favorite topic and then share what you learn with the class! You hop online and type your topic into a search engine. As you read article after article, you WONDER . . . how do you know when a source is valid?
One of the great things about the Internet is that it gives everyone a chance to express themselves. However, it also means there’s plenty of room for people to create untrustworthy sources. Luckily, there’s a simple test that can help you decide whether to trust a source. What are we talking about? The C.R.A.A.P. test, of course!
C.R.A.A.P. stands for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. Each word can help you measure a source’s validity. We always start with currency—when was this information published or updated? Up-to-date information is more likely to be correct, usually. That’s especially true if you’re learning about topics that can change quickly, like technology.
The next step is to consider the source’s relevance. How does it relate to your topic? Does it answer any questions you have about the subject? Does it cover the topic in enough detail? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you likely have a relevant source on your hands.
Authority is all about the author or creator of the source. Can you tell who made it? Was it a person or an organization? How can you be sure they know what they’re talking about? Be sure to look into the author’s background and credentials.
Next, consider the source’s accuracy. Where did their information come from? Did they use credible sources? Can this information be backed up by other publications? Is the source mostly free of mistakes in grammar and spelling?
Finally, think about the source’s purpose. If the purpose is to inform or teach, the source is likely more credible than sources meant to persuade or sell you something. Additionally, be wary of sources with a heavy bias. You should make sure any sources you use are based on fact, not opinion.
Why is it so important to make sure a source is valid? Incorrect information and fake news can spread very quickly online. By using the C.R.A.A.P. test, you can make sure you’re not basing your ideas or judgments on information that isn’t true.
How much time do you spend online every day? Time yourself, and you may find that you interact with the Internet for several hours a day. That means you’re bound to run across incorrect information at some point. Stick with the C.R.A.A.P. test, though, and you’ll know a good source when you see it!
Standards: CCRA.W.8, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10