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Critical Thinking & Evaluating Information

This guide is meant to present a brief overview on critical thinking and evaluating information.

T.R.A.A.P.

Now that you have had a brief overview on credibility and context. How do you evaluate a source or any source of information?

One way to evaluate information is to use the T.R.A.A.P. method. These criteria can be applied to any source of information.

                Graphic image of evaluation criteria

Timeliness or How Current

  • When was the information published? 
  • Does the age of the information affect the accuracy? 
  • Is there a more recent version that supports or refutes the original? 
  • Are the links functional? 

Relevance

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is it pitched at a scholarly audience?
  • Have you looked at a variety of similar sources before selecting this one?
  • Would you be comfortable citing this source?

Accuracy

  • Can the information be verified in other reliable sources?
  • Does the research contain sufficient evidence to back it up?
  • Has it been through a peer-review process?
  • Are there spelling or grammatical errors?

Authority

  • Where did the information come from?
  • Is the author / publisher / sponsor identified?
  • Can their credentials be verified?
  • Has the source been cited in other research?
  • Do you trust the source?

Purpose / Point of View

  • Why was this information created?
  • What is the mission or purpose of the information?
  • Does it seek to inform, provide facts, to sell, or to persuade you of something?
  • Is there evidence of political, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
  • Is the information objective and impartial?