With so much of our information coming from the open web, researchers at Stanford have developed a new framework for evaluating sources called Civic Online Reasoning (COR). This approach to source evaluation is concerned with answering the following three questions:
But how do we go about answering these questions, especially if they aren’t explicitly stated in the source itself? In order to answer these questions about a source, we have to look at it from the outside. This is called “lateral reading” and it involves searching the web for more information about the source. Wikipedia is a great place to search for information about authors, publishers, and organizations behind materials you may find on the web.
The CRAAP Test is one of the most well known source evaluation frameworks and it asks some good questions that we should be able to answer before incorporating any source into our research.
There are some valid criticisms of “checklist” methods like the CRAAP Test, including failure to really catch biased sources, ultimately sorting sources into “good” and “bad” categories, and considering sources too individually rather than as a part of the scholarly conversation.