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Elections: Evaluating Sources

Create your own reader for Elections

Evaluating Sources

Likely you are very familiar with finding sources on the free web (aka googling). While you won't have trouble finding information, it is crucial to find a variety of sources that are reliable and cover varying viewpoints. You must be selective, evaluate articles and information with a critical lens, and remember that longer articles can be tremendously useful in your research process. Also be sure to find in depth articles that are written by journalists that have enough expertise to offer thoughtful analysis.


Use CRAAP detection to evaluate sources

  • Currency: When was it written?
  • Relevance: Does it answer questions you need answered?
  • Authority: Is the author or creator an expert in the field? Is there an author listed?
  • Accuracy: Is it accurate? Do the authors cite their sources?
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of the site?

Click here for more on CRAAP

Evaluating Sources

How do you determine if a source is reliable?

Use the CRAAP detection to determine reliability. If a site looks fishy, trust your instincts!

Authority is very important in determining reliability. How do you figure out if an author has expertise? Often, a quick google search of the author's name will allow you to understand where they are coming from. Are they a seasoned reporter who has covered the Clintons for twenty years? Is is a professor of political science from a well-known university? Do they have a personal blog attacking politicians? Finding out about the author can help you make an informed decision about what they bring to the conversation.

A note about bias...

Bias is inherent in the information we consume. While news reporters try to report just the facts in an objective manner, a lot of journalists also offer analysis of the news issue. Bias isn't bad, but it is something you need to be aware of when you are reading, watching, or listening to the news. Be skeptical! 

  • Get broad viewpoints, including viewpoints different from your own.
  • Think about bias and who is writing the information that you are reading.
  • Ask your teacher or librarian for assistance early and often!