Locating Reliable Sources Online
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Locating Reliable Sources Online


Locating Reliable Sources Online

Logo for Locating Reliable Sources Online
In this lesson students learn and practice a strategy for assessing source reliablity (CAPOW).  They start by assessing websites together as a class (fake/spoof sites) and then conduct research on their own topic, assessing each site using the CAPOW strategy. 
Material Type: Tutorial
Technical Format: HTML/Text
Date Added to MERLOT: November 01, 2012
Date Modified in MERLOT: December 12, 2012
Submitter: Kelly Hanson
Keywords: source reliability, research, spoof sites


  • Reviewed by members of Editorial board for inclusion in MERLOT.
    Editor Review (not reviewed)
  • User review 4.5 average rating
  • User Rating: 4.5 user rating
  • Discussion (4 Comments)
  • Learning Exercises (none)
  • Personal Collections (none)
  • Accessibility Info (none)


Primary Audience: Middle School, College General Ed
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Technical Requirements:  
Language: English
Cost Involved: unsure
Source Code Available: unsure
Accessiblity Information Available: unsure
Creative Commons: no


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Discussion for Locating Reliable Sources Online

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Avatar for Julie Halsey
2 years ago

Julie Halsey (Consultant)

The need in the 21st century to help students navigate through the appropriate web references is significant. I think the fake websites are very creative and engaging to the students.      I think the acronym is also very helpful strategy to utilize.

One area that might be helpful is to allow the students to devise their own acronym for evaluating a website. It could also be a visual representation of the key components in evaluating the web. I think allowing the student to come up with a checklist that is unique to them will help retain the criteria for evaluation. 

Time spent reviewing site: 20

Avatar for Jennifer Gross-Russell
2 years ago

Jennifer Gross-Russell (Teacher (K-12))

This is a huge need in schools today as far too many students think that anything they get off the internet--google in particular is fact. I think that acronym of CAPOW is amazing to present to students. What an excellent resource that will stick with them for a long time! 

Technical Remarks:


Time spent reviewing site: 15 minutes

Avatar for Leslie Lieman
2 years ago

Leslie Lieman (Educational Technology Coordinator)

Hi Kelly -

Great job!

Finding credible resources online is an extremely valuable skill and it is good to see that you are supporting development of the skill before sending your students to do research.  Teaching your CAPOW strategy is likely to help the students remember the key features of a legitimate resource and since it is a memorable acronym the students will be able to apply it beyond your research assignments, and hopefully beyond 8th grade.  I also agree that using humor is a good for initial motivation.  These are definitely aspects of your lesson that I would strongly recommend to others.

Two suggestions:
It seems your school blocks some of the collaborative tools that might otherwise be available for students to share their list of credible sources and research material.  This would be a worthwhile conversation with your supervisor and/or technology coordinator, as there are many tools that can be designated for your class use only and would not be open to the public (shared google doc., class wiki).  You will need to demonstrate the value added of using this approach.

At the point you have students creating a list of resources, you might want to introduce them to some of the citation “machines,” online so that they give proper credit to the information they find.  For example: http://citationmachine.net/index2.php

Time spent reviewing site: 30 minutes
Used in course

Avatar for Brad Laibly
2 years ago

Brad Laibly (Teacher (K-12))

This seems to be a good lesson plan for young students to locate credible sources online.  By using the "CAPOW" method of evaluation, the students are readily able to identify resources that they can use that are credible.

Technical Remarks: