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COMM 1300 (Janda): Public Speaking: Evaluating Sources

Steps to Evaluate a Resource

  1. Apply the "CRAAP" test:
    1. Currency? Is the item current? Does it reflect the most current information? Can you find more recent information?
    2. Relevance? Does the information presented address the issue that it claims to, or does it veer off on other topics? Does it address all sides of the issue?
    3. Authority? Who wrote the article? What organization supports it? What is their reputation? Do they have credentials that support their expertise? How will the authority of the creator impact your argument? Does someone really have a reason to be discussing this topic? What can you find out about them?
    4. Accuracy? Can you determine if the resource is reporting "true" information? Can you find the same information elsewhere, and what is the authority of the types of places you are finding the information? Look at fact checking resources. Is the resource presenting ALL the information or are they omitting things that other sources mention?
    5. Purpose? What is the underlying reason this resource was created? Are they trying to educate? Entertain? Persuade? Are they biased? What is your emotional reaction to their argument?
  2. Use "lateral reading" and critical thinking to assess resource
    1. Look for collaborating evidence ELSEWHERE.
    2. Look at evidence/studies cited in resource.
    3. Look in a variety of different places with different political affiliations to confirm validity.
  3. Examine your own bias and perspective
    1. Think about the bias of this resource and compare it to your own bias/beliefs/emotional reaction.
    2. Can you separate your feelings from the topic and think about it critically?
    3. Can you be open to other ideas? What sort of evidence would it take for you to do so? Apply this to other people: how can you ask them to consider their bias and opinions and be open to yours?

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