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Senior Project: Purpose

Guide to the research process required to complete the WSA Senior Project.

The CRAAP Test - Purpose

Is the purpose of the information to sell? - Salesman, Britannica ImageQuestPurpose:  The reason the information exists.

  • What is the purpose of the information?  Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Do the authors and/or sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact, opinion or propaganda?
  •  Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

On this page you can learn:

Why you need to check for objectivity - and how to do it
How to think about the intentions of a website (an example)
How to think about the bias of the information on a website (an example)

Checking for Objectivity

Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park, London - Britannica ImageQuestYou need to ask:

  • Does the information show a minimum of bias?
  • Is the page designed to sway opinion?
  • Is there any advertising on the page?

Why?  Because:

  • Frequently the goals of the sponsors and/or authors are not clearly stated.
  • Often the Web serves as a virtual "soap box" where the speaker stands and delivers an appeal, speech, or rant on some political topic

Do the Authors Make Their Purpose Clear?

Sometimes you will need to dig beneath the surface to find the purpose of a website. 

The Life Happens website, for example, describes itself as a nonprofit organization that can help consumers make smart insurance decisions.  It does provide a lot of information on different types of insurance, but as you explore the site you will find it also provides links to the insurance agents who belong to the insurance groups who finance the site. 

So, what do you think - is the purpose of this site to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?

A good resource should make it's intentions and purpose clear.

Is There Any Bias to the Information?

When you find resources, it is important to understand the purpose of the information. 

Is the information aiming to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade? 

Organizations (their web address may end .org) often have a purpose or a mission so their information may be biased.  Bias is not necessarily a negative factor, you just need to be aware of it. 

Both the websites below have very different purposes and a different bias but they are both valid sites and could both contain useful information for a project or essay.

         

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