Davido Digital Solutions

Evaluating Internet Search Results

Google and other browsers search yields millions of results within less than a second when one searchers for something on the internet.

The good part is that at least some of those results will have the information you are looking for. But how do you know the specific information you need?

A typical Google search returns millions of results, so it’s important to have strategies to figure out which results have the information you need.

To evaluate internet search results we need we use the CRAAP Test.

The CRAAP test is a list of five criteria you use to find out whether a website’s content is appropriate to your search needs, questions or tasks.

The CRAAP Test helps you increase your productivity by helping you quickly evaluate which search results have the best chance of being trustworthy and relevant to your search.

CRAAP stand for;

1. Currency: refers to the timeliness of the information. When was the article posted? Is the information current or is it from years ago?

When you search for reviews of products or places, instructions on how to use new technology or devices, or analyses of news events, you obviously want the most current information.

2. Relevance: refers to whether the information relates to your needs. Does the content match the topic you meant to search for, or did it take you in a different direction? Do you need to be more specific in your search terms, or broader?

3. Authority: involves the source of the information. Remember, anyone can make a website. It’s essential to make sure the information or content you’re using comes from a reputable source—one that’s generally considered trustworthy due to factors like the publication type and the author’s expertise in the subject. Ask yourself:

1) Who is the author or publisher?

2) What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations?

3) Was the article or webpage published by an organization or business you are familiar with, or by an individual?

4) Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Learn about URL here

Always check that part of the URL to see if the content comes from a government (.go.ke) or an educational (.ac.ke) website. Mostly, governmental and educational websites are considered reputable sources due to the expertise of the people involved and the missions of the organisations themselves.

4. Accuracy: involves the reliability and truthfulness of the content. Even sites run by professional organisations can have inaccuracies. When you evaluate content, ask: Is the information supported by evidence? Can the information be verified with other authoritative sources or from personal knowledge? Does the language or tone seem objective and fair? Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?

An unprofessional presentation of information is a sign that the content hasn’t been carefully checked for accuracy.

One way to figure out whether information is accurate is to look for other sources that will confirm whether an author’s reported facts are correct.

5. Purpose: involves the reason the information exists. Every website has a purpose that affects the choice and presentation of content.

The people who write or publish the content for a website may present information selectively to suit their purpose.

The point to remember is if you determine that content doesn’t pass the CRAAP Test, look for different sources to get a clearer, more complete picture.

Always ask yourself: What is the purpose of the information on this site? Is it to inform and teach or to persuade and sell? Is it a paid advertisement?

Note: Paid types of listings usually appear at the top of the search results and have a small icon that says “Ad” or text that says “Sponsored” in the corner of the listing or under the article.

When you’re trying to determine the purpose of information on the internet, one key question to ask yourself is whether the website was created to sell or promote a product.

Using the CRAAP Test to review your search results makes you more productive as you don’t waste time going to websites that don’t have what you need.

When your search results come up, always use CRAAP test to skim the website titles, the URLs, and the short previews using the CRAAP criteria.

When you move on to each specific website, continue using the CRAAP criteria to evaluate the content more deeply.
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