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PHYS& 231, with Rachel Wade: Website Activity

Evaluating Scientific Information

Evaluating Web Resources: The C.R.A.P. Test

C

Currency

  • How recent is the information?
  • Can you find a date of publication? Has the site been recently updated?
  • How much does the date of the information matter for your topic?

R

Reliability/Validity

  • What kind of information is included in the resource?
  • Are the conclusions scientific and logical? Are they supported by other scientific resources?
  • Does the resource say where the information comes from? Are there any references or citations?

A

Authority

  • Can you determine the author or creator of the resource?
  • What are his or her credentials (education, affiliation, experience, etc)?
  • Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable? Are they scientific?

P

Point of View/Bias

  • Is the source fact or opinion?
  • What is the domain (.edu, .gov, .com)? 
  • How much of the site is advertisements? Do they relate to the information being presented?
  • Why does the resource exist?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activity

Example site: Laser Stars

In your assigned groups, check out your group's website for Currency, Reliability, Authority and Point-of-view. Then have ONE PERSON IN YOUR GROUP click below to access the Google Doc. Work together to answer the C.R.A.P. test questions in the boxes as a group, then fill in your group's final assesment (Valid, Speculation, Controversial, Uniformed, Misrepresentation, Invalid) in the last column and explain your choice.

Class Google Doc

Classifying Websites

To evaluate the scientific information found on a website, use the six categories below:

Valid
Most scientists would agree with the thesis, data, and conclusions drawn in the website/document.

Speculation
Most scientists would agree with the website's thesis, but the thesis statement lacks strong experimental evidence. An example of this would be wormholes in space time: they are predicted by well established theory, but have never been experimentally observed.

Controversial
This category refers to scientific, not social controversy. More than one scientific theory exists to explain the evidence. There is usually a lack of consensus within the scientific community on the subject.

Uninformed
The author is often not an expert in the field and is reporting only part of a larger story. The omissions in these websites/documents are usually due to ignorance, rather than malicious intent. Many student papers posted on the Internet fall under this category.

Misrepresentation
The author may present a correct statement, but it is either taken out of context or misapplied. The author is often deliberately trying to mislead the reader by ignoring other important evidence not presented on the website but well known in the field.

Invalid
Most scientists would disagree with the website's thesis.

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