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On this learning guide, you will find the following methods:
Information resources reflect their creator's expertise and credibility and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that your information need may help to determine the level of authority required.
Using this concept means you have to identify the different types of authority and why the author considers themselves credible, as well as why their community considers them credible. An author can be a person, journalist, scholar, organization, website. Author is different from authority, which is the quality that gives an author trustworthiness.
Types of authority:
Trustworthiness depends on:
A short list of four things to do or moves that may help you sort fact from fiction. All four moves are meant to help you reconstruct the context you need to read your text. The moves are:
2. investigate the source,
3. find better coverage,
4. trace claims, quotes, and media to the original context.
Related to SIFT, lateral reading is the third move of SIFT. You are meant to leave the website you are evaluating to read elsewhere and check up on the content in the original website. Three questions form the core of lateral reading:
Sometimes also called the CRAP Test, use a checklist to read to your text and decide whether it is credible. CRAAP is an acronym for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose. When you read, look for
Does the source provide information you can use in your research? Can the source answer your research question directly?
Is there enough evidence? Is the evidence the right kind? Is the evidence presented fairly? Are sources of evidence clearly identified?
What are the authors credentials and experiences? Is the author knowledgeable? What are the author’s biases?
What is the purpose and reputation of the publisher? How do the publisher’s bias affect the information, ideas and arguments?
Does the publication date affect the quality of evidence?
Does source complete and balanced evidence?
What type of document/media is the source? How does that affect the information of the source?
Evaluating evidence-based research articles in scholarly journals requires deep knowledge of the discipline, which you might not acquire until you are deeper into your education. These guiding questions can help you evaluate a research report, even if you aren't an expert in the field. Questions include: