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Careful and Thoughtful Web Evaluation

Careful and Thoughtful Web Evaluation

Librarians have long been engaged in teaching the evaluation of web content. The checklist method has been popular, (one widely-used method is the CRAAP test), but some educators argue for a deeper kind of evaluation that critiques the content itself, including content posted on social media platforms. The CRAAP test was created in 2004 before Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter became integrated into our daily routines.

A December 2020 article by Victorial Elmwood of Loyola University, New Orleans, proposes "a versatile, simple instructional method that can be used on a broad range of audiences, from grade school children to lifelong learners" ("The Journalistic Approach: Evaluating Web Sources in an Age of Mass Disinformation"). She advocates an open ended approach that avoids asking yes/no questions and giving a simple good or bad evaluation.

Elmwood describes it as "the journalistic approach," where the evaluator asks what (what is the format or genre?); when (how current is the original source?); where (the host site's mission and purpose); why (the motivation for writing and distributing); and lastly, how (how is the site supported by evidence, and how can it be used in my project?).

Instruction librarians at Calvin are continually engaged in improving upon our teaching of web and other source evaluation. See this video on source evaluation and this one on how to spot fake news.

- Posted January 11, 2021 by Kathy DeMey (5:19 PM)