Evaluating data, information and digital content

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Evaluating data & digital content in DigComp
Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes Click to read

1.    Awareness of the ‘fallacies’ of the digital environment: understanding the difference(s) the exists between misinformation (wrong information) disinformation (wrong/biased information spread with malicious intents)
2.    Knowledge of the most typical sources from which biases generate (i.e., authors of the reference, and their intents, origin of the data and sources quoted by the sources, embedment of political and commercial messages, etc.)
3.    Awareness of the great risks associated to AI-generated digital content
1.    Know how to filter and distinguish between ‘genuine’ and ‘biased’ content
2.    Know how to filter and distinguish between sponsored content and not
3.    Know how to recognise legitimate sources and references, and evaluate critically the objectivity of the content of an article
4.    Know how to verify the credibility of a source (i.e., blogs vs scientific and peer-reviewed evidences)
5.    Know how to recognise AI-influenced content in digital environments

1.    Capacity of performing creative and critical thinking-pushed analysis over the credibility, legitimacy and objectivity of a source / reference (i.e., fact-check)
2.    Understanding the outcome / impact of any possible online behaviour and what this might further lead to
The essentials for evaluating data and digital content
The essentials for evaluating data and digital content Click to read

●    Being able to find the right information it is not just a matter of finding the right title(s), but it addresses specifically the capacity of the users of selecting the right ones
●    The World Wide Web is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The golden rules to find good quality content relies on a process that follows this basic steps: Browsing, Mapping and Assessment


Golden rules for evaluating quality content Click to read

1.    Look into the information, data, and general inputs provided by each of the resources. This analysis should be critical and creative, meaning you should considerate if the content matches the title and provides indeed for the elements that you are interested into
2.    Be always genuinely skeptical in your first approach to the given resource – this helps you to maintain an unbiased and third-person perspective over things
3.    Check for inputs that signal the accuracy, relevance and reliability of what you are observing: author, date of publication, paid/unpaid content, source, external links of reference for double-check


Methodologies and logical steps for evaluation of digital content Click to read

There is a wide sample of standardized approaches that you can rely on to double and fact-check the legitimacy of what you are observing.
Their application is very much intuitive, and it requires a thought-processing exercise that you can apply in all domains.

The real-time application of this exercises will help you in:

1.    Filtering content that might be of interest or not

2.    Finally identify the precise information that you need



Four different proposed methodologies for evaluating of digital data and content Click to read

I.    5 Ws
II.    S.I.F.T


The 5 Ws methodology
The 5 Ws methodology Click to read

For every resources, article, content you might land on, try to identify & pinpoint:

●    Who generated this content
●    What is the source of reference
●    Where did it come from
●    Why it seems relevant 
●    When was it published 


First ‘W’: Who Click to read

The Who refers to the person that is behind the development and publication of the online content. By looking into the ‘Who’, the objective is to making sure that:

  1. His / her motive are genuine and the content is free from political, cultural, and other biases that might influence the objectivity of the content
  2. His / her knowledge on the subject
  3. His / her expertise on the matter and the reliability of the information provided


Second ‘W’: What Click to read

The What refers to the platform from which this content is available.
As a general rule:

  1. The information coming from well-known webzines is more reliable compared to personal blogs
  2. It is more challenging to fact-check information coming from social media, compared to established news outlets
  3. Different sources might provide for different opinions and ideas starting from the same subject and topic – depending for instance on cultural view on certain things 



Third ‘W’: Where Click to read

The Where refers to the information, evidences, data, insights, etc. that contributed to shape the content and formulate author’s opinion.

The more resources are available, the better is.

This will allow you to fact-check more easily and conveniently the authenticity of the sources and the trustworthiness of the opinions / information provided.


Fourth ‘W’: Why Click to read

The Why refers to the motivations leading you to think that you have finally found content of interest, relevance and reliability.
An easy way to assess the ‘Why’ of digital content is by looking at how much this content satisfy the previous points:

  1. Is the author competent on the subject?
  2. Is the platform / publishing source known and of good reputation?
  3. Is the reference clear and well-identifiable? 


Fifth ‘W’: When Click to read


Finally, the When refers to the date of publishing of the content.

  1. “The more recent, the better” is a general rule that might apply for instance to news and events
  2. Make sure to double-check if there are updates / revisions of the same content – or if it has been edited in a second moment


SIFT Approach
SIFT Method: Stop - Investigate - Find - Trace Click to read

This simple approach implies a thoughtful analysis of the content through a multi-stage approach

Stop Click to read

STOP, means try to analyze and have a first impressions on what you are looking at.

  • Is this what you were interested into in the first place?
  • Does the title matches the topic / theme you’re interested in?
  • Is the subject / object of this content clear enough?


Investigate Click to read

INVESTIGATE, means understanding the overall background of the resource available, and the people working behind it.

  • Is this reference experienced enough on what you are interested into?
  • Are there enough elements to fact-check its background?
  • What the users’ review says about this content?


Find Click to read

FIND a better coverage, means having the opportunity of having more alternative available of content and resources.

  • Is this reference really the best alternative available?
  • Is there any other source better suiting your interests?
  • Have you consulted all the possible alternative?


Trace Click to read

TRACE claims & quotes, means being in the position of tracing with relative ease the background information consulted by the author(s) of the content selected by you.

  • Are there enough background information supporting these claims and the reliability of the content?
  • Are the claims, quote and background references convincing enough?
  • (more in general) Where this content comes from? (i.e., opinions, facts, news)


CRAAP Test Click to read

A slightly advanced approach compared to the previous two, the CRAAP test provides for a series of guiding questions that users can rely on to evaluate the information they have available.

●    Currency 
●    Relevance 
●    Authority 
●    Accuracy 
●    Purpose


Currency Click to read

CURRENCY, timeliness of the content

  1. When was this content first posted?
  2. Have been any updates on the matter?
  3. Etc …

Currency matters when the information, content and resources that you are seeking for are time-sensitive and greatly impact how useful they can be for you.


Relevance Click to read

RELEVANCE, consistency & coherence of the content

  1. What is the focus of this material?
  2. Does it matches filter criteria?
  3. Etc …

Relevance matters because it assures for the matching of the content to the parameters of what is scouted and browsed on the web


Authority Click to read

AUTHORITY, source of the content

  1. Where this content comes from? 
  2. Is the source qualified enough on the matter? 
  3. Etc …

Authority matters because it provides legitimacy to the source, and greater chances of finding useful content that is adequate to your needs


Accuracy Click to read

ACCURACY, reliability of the content

  1. What is the nature of the resources available within this content?
  2. Is it possible to verify the same info.s from other sources?
  3. Etc …

Accuracy matters because it assures for trustworthiness of what you have available, and for the fact-check of the content


Purpose Click to read

PURPOSE, motivation of the content

  1. Why is this content available?
  2. Which needs it serves?
  3. Etc …

Purpose matters because it allows you to filter the many types of contents available on the World Wide Web (i.e., what is for commercial purposes, and what is not; what follows an agenda, and what is for pure entertainment)


RADCAB: You Vehicle for Information Evaluation Click to read

The RADCAB test comes from a methodology that researches normally use to test and evaluate how ‘good’ an information is for their purpose.
By applying its essentials, the RADCAB test can turn very useful whenever its time to analyse, compare, interpret and critically evaluate the credibility and reliability of the source of data, information and digital content

R=Relevancy Click to read

RELEVANCY in the evaluation process is assured when: 
  1. The whole process is streamlined from redundancies and other disruption that bring no added value at all
  2. All of the focus questions and key references (i.e., key words) are easily identifiable, and help you to land immediately on what you need
  3. The analysis of the given content goes smoothly


A=Appropriateness Click to read

APPROPRIATENESS in the evaluation process is assured when:

  1. It is easy to filter and isolate irrelevant information
  2. The is no, or very little margin, for misinterpretation and misuse of the available information, resources and content
  3. You have the feeling that this is what you were really looking for… 


D=Details Click to read

DETAIL in the evaluation process is assured when:

  1. There is the exact amount of information that you need to extrapolate from the content
  2. The information are easy to navigate
  3. The information are easy to process (quantity and quality)


C=Currency Click to read

CURRENCY in the evaluation process is assured when:
  1. You manage to find the information that you need from the timeframe that you very interested into
  2. You have available the version of the document, resource, content, etc. that was of your specific interest 


A= Authority Click to read

Competence 1.2 for Digital Culture

AUTHORITY in the evaluation process is assured when:
  1. You can trust of the author(s) of the content you are looking into, and he / she is qualified to speak on the subject
  2. Statements, key evidences, data and inputs provided by the content are easy to fact-check


B=BIAS-free Click to read

Competence 1.2 for Digital Culture

BIAS-free evaluation process is assured when:

  1. The motivation behind the publishing and public availability of the content are genuine and disinterested from any political, social, cultural, etc. agenda.
  2. The content is biased – i.e., it is inclined towards certain opinions, considerations and discussion – but it is explicit about it, there is a clear and well-stated reason, ‘biased’ elements are disclosed and easy to identify (and filter and insolate in case needed).  


Summing up
Summing up Click to read

RADCAB method for digital content evaluation SIFT Method for digital content evaluation 
  1. Relevancy
  2. Appropriateness
  3. Detail
  4. Currency
  5. Authority 
  6. Bias
  1. Stop
  2. Investigate
  3. Find 
  4. Trace
5 Ws for digital content evaluation  CRAAP Test
  • Who generated this content
  • What is the source of reference
  • Where did it come from
  • Why it seems relevant 
  • When was it published 


Test Yourself! Click to Start


Credibility, relevance, accuracy, completeness, critical thinking

Objectives / goals:

⮚   Familiarize with practical methods for evaluation of digital data and content… and know-how for their implementation
⮚   Get the essentials of evaluating data, information and digital content and acquire the fundamentals of this competence.

Learning outcomes:

⮚   Assess and contrast the trustworthiness and dependability of the source of digital content, data and information in a critical manner.

⮚    In a critical manner, scrutinize, construe, and evaluate the digital content, information, and data.


- Information and Data Literacy

Communication and Collaboration: Interacting with digital technologies for entertainment and culture

- Digital content creation

- Safety

- Problem Solving

Practical advices:

1.    Be aware of the different types of wrong information, including misinformation (wrong information) and disinformation (wrong/biased information spread with malicious intents).
2.    Learn to distinguish between genuine and biased content by filtering and critically evaluating the sources and references, and identifying potential sources of bias, including authors, origins of the data and sources quoted by the sources, and embedment of political and commercial messages.
3.    Use standard methodologies such as 5Ws, SIFT, CRAAP, or RADCAB to assess the accuracy, relevance, and reliability of digital content, and check for inputs that signal these qualities, including author, date of publication, source, external links of reference for double-check, and paid/unpaid content.
4.    Apply critical and creative thinking to analyse the credibility, legitimacy, and objectivity of digital content, and perform fact-checking when necessary.
5.    Consider the potential impact of online behaviour and the outcome of any possible behaviour and maintain an unbiased and third-person perspective. Use a process that follows the basic steps of browsing, mapping, and assessment to find good quality content on the World Wide Web.