Critical Reading and Writing are important skills to learn in this course.

Students are constantly exposed to a variety of sources of information in science. We will learn how to evaluate those sources to determine the credibility of those sources.

Towards that end we will devote a short amount of time each day (~ 20 - 25 minutes or so) to reviewing scientific articles regarding environmental science. We will start simply by skimming National Geographic and/or Scientific American journals on hand in the class.

We will discuss those articles briefly and talk about what makes those articles credible.

Eventually students will go online and find their own articles, summarize the article, write a brief reflection on the article and then determine why and how that article is credible using the C.R.A.P. test.


The C.R.A.P. test is a way to evaluate a source based on the following criteria: Currency, Reliability, Authority and Point of View/Prejudice.  Below are some questions to help you think about how to measure each of the criteria.
DO NOT ANSWER THE QUESTIONS -- Use them to help form your thoughts on each section.



FORMAT: Times New Roman, 12 point. Double spaced with 1" margins

SUMMARY: 1/2 Page (approximately 2 quality paragraphs) SUMMARY of your article use your own words <2 pts>

REFLECTION: 1/2 Page (approximately 2 quality paragraphs) PERSONAL REFLECTION -- For example: what about the article caught your attention? What does it mean to you? Does it inspire you? Does it frustrate you? What more do you want to learn about that topic? <2 pts>

Currency Analysis <4 pts>

    Comment or analyze how the date the article was published effects your confidence and/or the credibility of the article.

    Note: Be careful NOT to use the last time the website was updated if you are using web-based article.

    Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Some articles can be a few days old and yet because they are so new they may actually make the article LESS credible-- Depending on the Topic!!

    • Other articles can be a few years old and still be current. Analyze how the date of your article effects the CONTENT of your article and then use that to summarize how the date of the article is relevant.

Reliability Analysis - <4 pts>

  • Is the journal itself credible? (Do a little bit of research and find out how long that journal has existed)

  • Is the journal itself quoted by other news media or other journals?

  • Does the article give specific quotes about the source(s) of information or does it generally describe information?

  • Who is the publisher or sponsor of the publication?

  •  What is the publisher's interest (if any) in this information?

  •  What sort of advertisements are present? (Does that matter?)

Author Analysis <4 pts>

    • Who is the creator or author of the article?

    • Did the author actually conduct the research described or is the author describing the work done by others?
    • What are the author's credentials:

      • Where does the author work/teach?
      • What sort of degree(s) does the author have?
      • Where did the author get that degree?
      • Has the author published before?

Purpose/Point of View Analyis <4 pts>

          Is the article or source fact or opinion?

          Is the article or source biased in any way?

          Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?

Adapted by Mr W from