Evaluating Sources

Remember: C.R.A.A.P.

Currency = Is the article timely? When was it published? Has it been updated? Is the information to which it refers timely?  Do links on the website work? Does the site or info seem out-of-date?

Relevance = Does the information relate to your topic? Is it at an appropriate level – not too basic, not too advanced? Who is the audience?

Authority = Who is the author? What are his/her credentials? Is the author part of an organization, and if so, what are its goals? Is his/her organizational affiliation obvious? Is contact information available on the site? Is the URL a .com, .org, .gov?

Accuracy = Where does the information come from? Is there evidence on the website to support it? Can you verify the facts from other sources or from personal knowledge? Is bias evident in the language the author uses? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes?

Purpose = What is the purpose of the website? (To inform? To entertain? To sell a product?) Do the authors/sponsors make their purpose clear? Is the information fact or opinion? Are there political, cultural, institutional or personal biases that are evident?


Example websites to evaluate:

  1. http://www.sweetsurprise.com/

  2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fructose-corn-syrup/AN01588

  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers_b_861913.html

(Adapted from Eastern Michigan University Library’s First Year Writing Instructor Guide on Evaluating Sources: http://guides.emich.edu/fywp)


General Guidelines for Unit 1 Responses

The responses you do in preparation for the Investigative Essay are miniature versions of the Unit 1 assignment — they are shorter in length, but are made up of the same parts:

-There should be a “summary of the general discussion” around the issues discussed in the article.  You must include what the author of the article has to say.  You may also wish to bring in your previous knowledge about the topic, information from other sources, and/or your personal experience.

-Your response will focus specifically “on one or two issues that are of particular interest to you.”  What do you find to be most important about this article?  What is controversial, or inspires strong feelings?  What issues do you feel are not represented that need to be discussed?  What are the strongest points the author makes?  Where does he or she go wrong?


– Be specific and particular

– Back up claims with evidence

-Use MLA formatting and cite your sources (including the assigned article)

Ground Rules for Group Discussion

Our theme for English 102 is “Race and Class.”  Here are some ground rules for respectful discussion.  We will talk through these in class today (and maybe add to them or edit them.)

-We listen carefully, without interrupting

-We agree as a group to be respectful of each other’s feelings, and to be respectful of all cultures, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, class backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives when speaking.

-When we disagree, we criticize ideas, not the individual who expresses them.

-Our focus in class is to learn, not to debate.

-We use language carefully. We recognize that our choice of words is important, and that certain words are offensive or hurtful to members of the group.

-“Step up and step back”: If we usually don’t talk much, we will challenge ourselves to speak more. If we find ourselves talking more than others, we will speak less.