Media Analysis: No Quick Study

Media Analysis Inventories

The first wave of web media literacy lesson plans and resources were based on complex analytic frameworks like the CRAAP test (evaluating Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose).

There are many lists and sublists, like IFLA's 8 Questions, the Trust Project’s 8 Indicators and NAMLE’s 3 Key Questions (see below):

Meanings and Messages

Audience and Authorship

  • Who made this message?

  • Why was this made? Who is the target audience?

  • Who paid for this? Who might benefit from this?

  • Who might be harmed by this message?

  • Why might this message matter to me?

  • What actions might I take in response to this?

  • What is this about (and what makes you think that)

  • What ideas, values, information are overt? Implied?

  • What is left out of the message that might be important to know? What techniques are used?

  • Why were those techniques used?

  • How do they communicate the message?

  • How might people understand this differently?

  • What is my interpretation of this and what do I learn about myself from my reaction or interpretation?

Representations and Reality

  • When was this made? How was it shared?

  • Is this fact, opinion, or something else?

  • How credible is this (based on what evidence?)

  • What are the sources of the claims & ideas?

The NAMLE list above is not exhaustive. For example, though it asks "why might this message matter to me?" it does not ask “what biases do I have that might distort my response to this information?”, as some do, or “what is my current state of mind and readiness to engage System 2 right now?” (which might be useful when scrolling) .

These long “Misinformation Detection” lists can be framed as “analysis inventories. They direct their investigative flashlights and magnifying glasses all over - from the artifact to its context, other representations, as well as the biases and disposition of the person doing the investigation. When they were introduced, it was not clear whether they were recommending processes that all of us consciously should do every time we look at a new piece of information on an unfamiliar source, or whether this was training to distinguish facets of the media literacy landscape that might come up if we happen to notice them.

This is an important distinction for Media Literacy Education: are these lists fact checking procedures, or concept formation training?

How To Spot Fake News: Regular and COVID Editions (IFLA)

The 8 Indicators: Two Versions (Trust Project)

There have been many iterations of the Trust Project's 8 Indicators. The current set does not match either of the previous infographics below. The media literacy ecosystem is always changing and we are continually learning more about how to manage it.

Project Look Sharp goes up to 9!