Module 1 -> Lesson 5

Small-group research

Essential Question

How can we determine the reliability of information found on the internet?

Anchor Text(s) for this Lesson

Supporting Text(s)/ Resources for this Lesson

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students work in triads to begin their research with a particular focus on vetting online resources. This lesson presents a framework for vetting resources as well as some different options for educators to choose from. The bulk of the period should be allocated for productive research and vetting. Students will craft search statements to look for texts that discuss their chosen claim category, apply the CRAAP test to evaluate resources, and begin logging those resources on their research tracker.

Nota Bene

Based on your students' needs and content you have already covered across the school year, choose the framework for vetting resources that best suits your setting. While this lesson centers the CRAAP test (developed by librarians at California State University), some other options are included under the "Enrichment Articles" bullet in the Supporting Texts/ Resources for this lesson.


Students will be able to

  • craft search statements to identify sources that address specific claims;

  • evaluate the quality of online resources;

Suggestion Duration

45 - 90 minutes (adjust according to your students' needs)

NYS Next Generation ELA Standards

  • R8: Delineate and evaluate an argument and specific claims in a text, assessing the validity or fallacy of key statements by examining whether the supporting evidence is relevant and sufficient.

  • RH9: Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

NYS Computer Science & Digital Fluency Standards

  • 9-12.IC.1 Evaluate the impact of computing technologies on equity, access, and influence in a global society.

  • 9-12.DL.1: Type proficiently on a keyboard.


All terms are defined according to their meaning in the context of the CRAAP test. See this resource for useful questions researchers can ask to consider each of these categories.

  • currency: the timeliness of a resource; is the information up to date?

  • relevance: closely connected with the subject you are discussing or the situation you are thinking about

  • authority: the power to influence people because they respect your knowledge or official position;

  • accuracy: the state of being exact or correct;

  • purpose: the intention, aim, or function of something;


Present one or both memes to students and have them discuss with a partner or small group, or write in their notebooks, in response to the following prompts:

What is the purpose of these memes? What argument is being made by each?

How might the content of these memes relate to research on a controversial topic like facial recognition technology?

Once students have had a few minutes to think about these prompts through writing or discussion, facilitate a brief whole class conversation to transition into the mini-lesson, which focuses on vetting online resources.


Hopefully, through the hook students have come to recognize that when searching for information on the internet--or anywhere else--it is important to vet that information and evaluate its reliability.

Present the CRAAP test to students (or whichever framework you opt to use) and walk through each of its components. At this point, it will be useful for students to have access to the CRAAP test worksheet in hand, so they can have a visual anchor and interact with the material as the mini-lesson unfolds.

Elicit from a student one claim category about FRT--in favor or opposition of--and elicit from another student what search terms they might use to find information about this particular claim and topic. You might find it useful at this point to do some on-the-spot search term support/ instruction if relevant in your setting.

Walk through the search results with students and point out --or elicit from them -- which results are ads and otherwise model critical skimming of the search results. Choose a result and then model the CRAAP test on the resource you and the class have chosen.

Once you have modeled the CRAAP test with at least one resource, let students know that they are going to be vetting the resources they identify in today's next (and possibly the next day's class) by using the CRAAP text.


Students will need the graphic organizer they built with their team yesterday to structure and track their research. Each student in the triad is responsible for looking for resources that address the two claim categories they 'own'; remember, each student must 'own' one proponent claim and one opponent claim.

As students search for resources, they will apply the CRAAP test to any source they are considering including in their research. Triads should be encouraged to discuss their results as they do this work.

Circulate and check in with students as they search for and evaluate sources. As you formatively assess students performance with this task, determine any need for reteaching, extended time, etc. You might also identify some students or groups to share their results in the wrap up.

Wrap Up

Invite two to three students / groups to share in response to one or more of the following:

What resources they rejected and why?

What surprised them as they began to apply the CRAAP test?

Is the CRAAP test a useful tool? Why or why not?

Last updated