Evaluating online information sources: The CRAAP Checklist
Thanks to the internet, we have access to a lot of great information. However, the internet also has a lot of misinformation (wrong information). It’s important to carefully evaluate the information you find to make sure it is trustworthy and true, especially when it comes to your health. This can sometimes be difficult. Thankfully, there’s a great resource, called the CRAAP test. The CRAAP test is a checklist that can help you evaluate all the information you find, both online and offline (in books, news reports, documentaries etc.).
CRAAP test checklist:
Currency: Is the information up to date?
Relevance: Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
Authority: Who is the author and are they qualified to write about the topic?
Accuracy: Is the information reliable (trustworthy) and supported by evidence (well researched using scientific methods)?
Purpose: Why does the information exist and is there any bias (is it trying to persuade you to believe something)?(note for teachers reading this sample lesson - in the actual lessons, students would have read a fake story about pencils before taking this lesson. The content below refers to that story)
For example, how would you have known that the stories about pencils in the previous section were false? Let’s try this checklist:
Currency: You wouldn’t have known when the stories were written. Maybe it was written 200 years ago!
Relevance: In this case, you were probably not looking for information on the danger of pencils. However, you’ll notice that the stories are written quite differently from the other lessons!
Authority: The authors of the stories were completely anonymous - anybody could have written them. Also, notice that none of the stories were written by a doctor, a scientist or someone with professional authority.
Accuracy: None of the stories provided any evidence - just anecdotes (opinions). Stories are often very convincing and emotional. It’s easy to believe stories because they can make you feel sad or happy. But without evidence you should be careful, since it’s easy for anyone to make up a story!
Purpose: What was the purpose of this story? It wasn’t actually made clear. In order to understand the purpose, you often have to look deeper into the person(s) writing/sharing it. For example, imagine if the person writing or sharing the pencil stories made pens for a living. This person would want everyone to use pens instead of pencils. If this person could make up stories where pencils are dangerous and scary, that would convince people to use more pens! Ask yourself if the writers (or the person sharing it) benefit from the information in any way.
If you're curious about how the CRAAP test applies to all the other lessons on Kids Boost Immunity, you can check it out by going to the sources page under the "About" menu!
Watch the video to learn more about the CRAAP test so that you can figure out if the information you find is trustworthy and true. Then take the quiz to earn vaccines!