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HN200: American Civil War at 150 (Lantzer): Evaluating Sources

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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Primary & Secondary Sources

"The raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study." 

Primary Sources are created during the time of study

Examples: 

  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Books, pamphlets, government documents
  • Diaries, letters, manuscripts, speeches, interviews, relics, artifacts
  • Maps, archival materials, creative works
  • Art, visual materials, music, sound recordings, videos

 

Source:  Using Primary Sources by Library of Congress.. / Image Source: Primary Source Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

"Accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience." 

Secondary sources are created after the fact

Examples:

  • Publications (not 1st person perspective)
  • Journal articles
  • Books, textbooks
  • Histories, criticisms, commentaries
  • Reference materials, encyclopedias

Source:  Using Primary Sources by Library of Congress.. / Image Source: Secondary Source Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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