You may have heard of information literacy, which is the fancy name for fact checking. Information literacy and fact checking skills are now more important than ever. Not only is there a need to fact check the so-called ‘fake news’, any entity that claims to be a fact checker must also be fact checked, for which I predict that there will be an ‘app’* created to sort factual information from blatant mistruths. Until then, it is helpful to put those critical thinking skills to the test through the use of the CRAAP method:
Currency – this one is self-explanatory, and is especially crucial when discussing statistics
Relevance – this one may also be self-evident, however, it is a red flag when news skirts the issue or fails to address the question, problem, situation, or event
Authority – this refers to who wrote or published the material, which should be from an authoritative. Websites ending with .org and .edu are generally more reliable than .com which tend to be biased and motivated by profit – even news sites that may not give the entire story. Yes, news can be just as biased as ‘fake news’!
Accuracy – there should be references or other sources that can be verified
Purpose – this one helps check for potentially biased information, which may favor advertisers, a particular target audience or political party
For more information, you can check out what the University of Michigan in Flint posted on their guide to evaluating sources.
* of which I will claim intellectual copyright unless it has already been published!