The C.R.A.P. method is a framework for beginning to evaluate sources. You need to look at the source itself AND do some fact-checking outside the source, too.
§ When the source was created or last updated?
§ Is this current enough for your topic (some fields change more rapidly than others)?
¨ Reliability (the content itself)
§ Are the sources of the information documented (cited)?
§ Is the content mostly opinion or mostly verifiable information?
§ Is the source summarizing or re-stating a different source? If so, "go upstream" to that original source and use it, instead.
§ When in doubt, do a quick web search to see if anyone else has already fact-checked the claims.
¨ Authority (the author or creator)
§ Who created this resource?
§ Is the creator an expert on this topic?
§ Does the creator have any institutional affiliations?
§ "Read laterally"-- do some quick searching to find out what others say about the author. What kind of reputation do they have?
¨ Purpose (the publishing source and/or medium)
§ Why was the resource created?
§ Who is the intended audience?
§ Does the publishing source have an agenda? (E.g., are they trying to get you to support a certain candidate or buy a product?)
§ Again, "read laterally"-- do some quick searching to find out what others say about the publication. What kind of reputation does it have?
§ Are there ads? A lot of them?