Evaluating Sources Guide

This website appears credible at first, but after applying the C.A.R.P. method you will see why it is NOT reliable:

All About Explorers (DON'T USE THIS WEBSITE)

The CARP Framework for Assessing Resources

The Internet is like a vast ocean full of wonderful things but like the ocean, the Internet can also become polluted with garbage and unsavory elements as well. When searching for information online it is important to understand how search engines work and to be able to identify quality web sites from bad websites.

A helpful way to evaluate websites is to use the "Fishing for C.A.R.P." method. Think of the Internet as a giant ocean and your search query as your fishing rod. Creating a focused and detailed search query (ex. Egypt AND "Middle Ages") is similar to using the right kind of bait in order to hook the right type of website. Once you've hooked a website you need to evaluate it using the C.A.R.P. method to determine if it's a keeper (quality website) or if you should throw it back in the ocean and cast your search again.

C - Currency

Currency does not mean monetary value, instead it refers to the resource's timeliness. For example, if you were researching Eastern Europe and you used a web article published in 1989 it most likely refers to the Soviet Union as the largest country in Europe. However, the Soviet Union no longer exists because it collapsed in 1991. You should always check a web site to see when it was published AND when it was last updated.

A - Authority / Accuracy

Authority examines whether the author of an article or website has deep knowledge of the topic. What are their credentials or experience with the subject matter? Anyone can create, write, share, or post information but that does not make them an expert on that subject. It is your responsibility to check the authority of a website or article's author.

For example, Wikipedia has great general information about an array of topics however all of their articles are crowd-sourced, which means anyone can add to an article. Since you cannot confirm the article was written by someone who has the experience, background, or knowledge of the subject, you should not cite Wikipedia articles in your schoolwork.

R - Reliability

Reliability can also mean trust, validity, accuracy, and truth. Simply examining the website's layout can help you determine its reliability. For example, a reliable website should include contact information for the author or publisher, a bibliography of resources consulted or suggestions for additional readings, citation information for images and graphs, and the overall look of the site should be professional and without advertisements. Make sure any sources they cite are high quality and any links still work.

Compare and contrast these two websites about Roman Women: website 1 and website 2. Which website looks more reliable? Which website should you use and which should you "throwback" into the Internet ocean?

P - Publisher

Who is responsible for publishing this website or article? Visit the website's "About Us" or "Contact" pages. Is there an editor or peer-review process to help weed out bad information? What internet domain does the site use (ex. .com, .edu, .gov, .org)?

What is their purpose or agenda for publishing? Is this fact, opinion, bias, misinformation, or propaganda? It is important to understand that websites may have an ulterior motive in posting to the web, perhaps they are trying to sell you something by generating scandalous headlines for click bait, or they may try to sway your opinion using misrepresented facts or out-of-context quotes. 

Crash Course on Navigating Digital Information

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