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Sycamore School Research Visit: Free Resources

Prepared for the January Butler Field Trip for Sycamore's Sixth Graders.

Finding Quality Internet Sources

There's a lot of great stuff on the Internet. Unfortunately, there's a lot of CRAP out there too! It's so important that the information you rely on be quality! You want sources that come from reputable organizations or people. You don't want sources that are biased or factually incorrect or outdated.  

Credible sources wordle

So, how can you make sure your sources are credible? Check out the CRAP Test below.

Still not convinced that you need to worry about evaluating your sources? Check this out. Be sure to note who the author of this page is.  This website is in the top 5 results when you Google Martin Luther King - what does that tell you about Google?

Improve your Google searches!  Below is a quick and easy trick to limit your searches to more credible website domains. You still need to run the CRAP test, but it's a good first step towards finding better sources.

Limit by domain with site:.domain

Created using Wordle - © 2013 Jonathan Feinberg

The CRAP Test

The CRAP Test

Currency, Reliability, Authority, Purpose and Point of View

Man carrying a sign that says "Judgement Day May 21, 2011"

When was the information published or posted?

Do you need historical or current information?

Has this information been revised or changed since it was first released?


BOTTOM LINE: Does this offer appropriately current or historical information?

Image: Bummer by Nick Harris1Used under CC BY-ND

The word reliable. The letters that make up the word are starting to fall off.What kind of information is included in this resource?

Is the content of the resource primarily opinion?

Is it balanced?

Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?


BOTTOM LINE:  Is this quality, trustworthy information?

Image: "Reliable" by Eva the Weaver. Used underCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Man standing with several cameras hanging around his neck. Cannot see man's face.

Who is the author?  Who is the publisher?

  • What expertise do they have with this subject?
  • What is their educational background?
  • Where are they from? Where are they living now?
  • What political party do they belong to?
  • What organizations or causes do they support?
  • Are there any other biases you can ascertain?

BOTTOM LINE: Can you trust this author and publisher to know what they're talking about?

Image: [Man with Cameras] by i k o. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

World War Two poster that says "Millions of troops are on the move; is your trip necessary?"

What is the purpose of this information source?

  • To entertain? Inform? Educate? Pursuade? Sell? 
  • Are advertisements included? Photographs?

Is the information fact, opinion, or propoganda?

Do the authors/publishers make their intentions clear?

  • Is there bias - political, cultural, religious, ideological, personal, etc?

BOTTOM LINE: Is this source objective and impartial, or is it influenced by bias or hidden agendas?

Image: "Is your trip necessary?" by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious.Used under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Library of Congress

Click on the logo below to search the Library of Congress' website, including their fabulous digital collections:

U.S. Library of Congress flag logo

US Library of Congress Book Logo. Public Domain.

National Archives

Click on the logo below to view a list of recommended historical resources from the National Archives.

National Archives

NARA logo. Public Domain.

Smithsonian

Click on the logo below to search the Smithsonian's collection. Use the Keyword Search bar in the upper left of the page.

Smithsonian logo

"Smithsonian logo color" by US Federal government. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Statistical Abstracts from the Census Bureau

The Statistical Abstracts bring together years of data from the Census Bureau.

Census Bureau of the US

U.S. Census Bureau logo. Public Domain.

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CAT: 317-940-8575

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