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AM ST 100: Introduction to American Studies (Sachsenmeier)

The C. R. A. P. Method

The CRAP Method is a quick and easy-to-remember way to evaluate a source based on the following criteria: Currency, Reliability, Authority and Purpose/Point of View.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself about the resource to determine its value for your research.

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • If an electronic resource, how recently has it been updated?
  • Is this the most recent edition of the resource (especially for books)?
  • Is the age of the publication likely to affect the conclusions drawn by the author?

Reliability

  • What type of information is provided in the resource?
  • Does this work provide you with high quality information?
  • Is your topic treated as the main subject, or is it peripheral?
  • Does the information support or disprove your thesis?
  • Is the resource useful to your research need?
  • Does the author provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority

  • Who is the author of the work, and what are his/her credentials?
  • Who published the work – a scholarly press, commercial publisher, or is it self-published?
  • If it is an online resource, can you determine who the author is?

Purpose/Point of View

  • What is the purpose of the resource?
  • Is the purpose clearly outlined in an introduction or foreword?
  • Is the work’s audience an expert in the field or a layperson?
  • Is the author/publisher trying to sell you something?
  • Does this work show signs of bias?
  • Is there a fair and balanced treatment of the subject matter?

How to Spot Fake News

How to Spot Fake News

Media Bias Chart

a chart showing political leanings and overall quality of various media sources