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Introduction to College Writing Argumentative Essay Research

Use this guide to help gather and understand information you'll need to write an essay on your chosen conspiracy theory.

Is my information trustworthy?

When you encounter information (whether it comes from the news, social media, a friend, or a book), you should evaluative its quality to decide whether or not the information is trustworthy. 

Question it. Don't believe everything you see, hear, or read.

Does it pass the C.R.A.A.P. test?

Is it good information? How do you know? The C.R.A.A.P. test (created by the Meriam Library) is a list of questions in five categories to help you decide.

  • Currency: Is it timely?
  • Relevance: Is it important for your needs?
  • Authority: Who or what is the source?
  • Accuracy: Is it truthful and correct?
  • Purpose: Why does the information exist? 

View the full list of questions here. 

Best Practices for Journalism

The best writers and journalists follow a set of standards, outlined below. As you read, consider whether your source adheres to this code of ethics or whether they are writing for a purpose other than "public enlightenment."

Quoted from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.

The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in media.

  • Seek truth and report it
  • Minimize harm
  • Act independently
  • Be accountable and transparent

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn more about evaluating and selecting good information, Choosing and Using Sources (a free-of-cost/OER guide) is good resource. Find and read it on PressBooks using the link below.


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