P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process

Submitted by Ellen Carey on September 15th, 2017
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Short Description: 

P.R.O.V.E.N. is designed to provide students with a source evaluation process that is grounded in both the ACRL Framework and Michael Caulfield's "Four Moves and a Habit" from his ebook, "Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers" (2017). The process includes both strategies for fact-checking by examining other sources such as internet fact-checking tools, and strategies for analyzing the source itself by examining its purpose, relevance, objectivity, verifiability, expertise, and newness. The "P.R.O.V.E.N." acronym emphasizes the process students should go through to demonstrate credibility based on their particular needs, rather than the state of a particular source (i.e. credible or not). The questions are designed to guide this evaluation process, not to serve as a checklist.

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Learning Outcomes: 

After using the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process students will be better able to: -Identify strategies for evaluating sources -Consider the purpose of a source -Identify the value of a particular source for their needs, based on its type, content, and age -Examine the objectivity and accuracy of a source and the authority of its authors


Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

At Santa Barbara City College, we use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process primarily as a supplement to instruction on evaluating sources, either in a F2F research workshop, at the reference desk, in our Library 101 course, or in other courses with research assignments. We use a version (sometimes abbreviated) on most research guides, and provide a link to the full one-page document.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

We find that our students often approach source evaluation in a black and white way (the source is either credible or it is not credible). We find that P.R.O.V.E.N. works best when we have the opportunity to teach source evaluation as a process of determining the appropriateness and usefulness of a particular source for a particular purpose.

Suggested Citation: 
Carey, Ellen. "P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Process." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2017.