In addition, because there is no standard format for how dates appear on Web pages, Web users may construe dates differently. Does the work update other sources, substantiate other materials you have read, or add new information? For example, the publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica has gained a reputation for producing high-quality works largely by following these practices. Check with a librarian for other useful databases. For lists of news sources ranging from left to right to satire, check out. Are the sources for factual information clearly listed so they can be verified in another source? Evaluation of information encompasses a large part of our daily lives, albeit we are often not consciously aware of the process.
Although the station withdrew the story after the refinery categorically denied its authenticity, in the meantime, the posted report triggered a 40-cent increase in U. However, upon looking at the page describing the goals of this newspaper, you discover it is published by a group of individuals that advocate the segregation of the white and black races. Good information sources will use a calm, reasoned tone to present information in a balanced manner. Coverage Is there an indication that the page is complete and is not still under construction? Consider objectivity of the web site with authority in mind. Confusion can result when people use different conventions to convey the same information. Using 5 important critieria - Accuracy, Authority, Objectivity, Currency, and Coverage - can make wading through the mass of information less confusing, and, help you be a better consumer of information.
Currency Is the material updated frequently to ensure currency? What is the sponsor's reputation? Likewise, in the Web environment a sign of quality in a site is external links that work properly, an organizational structure that allows one to quickly determine content and access it equally fast, and graphics or multimedia that complement the information presented. If the material is out of copyright, has it been updated to make it more current? Clues include an author's educational background e. Next We value your comments and feedback. Review the tips for identifying. Objectivity of Traditional Sources No presentation of information can ever be considered totally free of bias because everyone has a motive for conveying a message.
In your experience, does the information make sense? As a result, we tend to give more credence to information provided on C-Span rather than information offered by an infomercial. These are not always available through Google. Are there dates on the page to indicate when the page was written, when the page was first placed on the Web, or when the page was last revised? In addition to answering the questions found in the section, you should also look closely at what the author is actually saying in the article. Information presented in a manner that attempts to sway the reader is considered biased. You may also use as another source You may also use one or more scholarly sources outside of class texts. Consumer Reports, for example, is a publication found in countless libraries and homes because it has a reputation as an authoritative, reliable source of impartial information.
For each criteria, there are several questions to be asked. Links and Additional Info Still not sure? When you use the print and multimedia materials found in your college library, your evaluation task is not so complicated because librarians have already established the credibility and appropriateness of those materials for academic research. . Even a simple trip to the supermarket requires making a large array of evaluation decisions. Pay attention to the tone and be cautious of sites that contain highly emotional writing. In this way, the reader can confirm whether the information is accurate or the author's conclusions reasonable.
Coverage and Intended Audience of Web Sources Because Internet-based resources often lack the Web equivalent of a preface or introduction, the coverage of the material is often not readily apparent. For example, It may indicate when the material was first written It may indicate when the material was first placed on the Web It may indicate when the material was last revised V. Clues to look for include the date an organization was founded, the number of members, their mission, the types of publications they produce, whether they have annual conferences, etc. Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution? One advantage of Web publishing is the ease with which material can be revised. If this explanatory material is not included, a table of contents or an index may provide similar information. You are looking for the strengths and weaknesses in what you have read to produce a critical and sound literature review. Look for a header or footer showing affiliation.
As with any source, Web sites vary when it comes to presenting high quality information about a particular topic. Objectivity Objectivity is the extent to which material expresses facts or information without distortion by personal feelings or other biases. For example, would you trust research from a cigarette manufacturer claiming that smoking does not damage your health? Other sources known for quality include online journals and magazines. The name and email address of the organization should be obvious. Data collected in interviews of persons whose reliability is not always clearly established should be carefully screened, especially if you present this material as expert opinion or as based on knowledge of your topic.
Send comments or suggestions to: Susan E. Print and Internet sources vary widely in their authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage. Many Library databases contain articles of various types of periodicals, including scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers. Accuracy of Traditional Sources Traditional media utilize a number of checks and balances to help ensure the accuracy of content. Cite this source as: Beck, Susan. If there is any advertising on the page, is it clearly differentiated from the informational content? If you want to find out specifically who is hosting a site, you can remove part of the address from your current page and go back to the root address.
That is, is there a phone number or postal address to contact for more information? For other organizations, it can be difficult sometimes to determine if they are established and reputable. Instructors assigning research topics might focus on a particular author. This information can usually be determined from the publication and copyright dates that commonly appear on the title page or other front matter of a work. Learn About: Criteria used to evaluate print and Internet information resources, differences between print and Internet resources, characteristics of scholarly vs. What about the sites you found on Google? It can be difficult, in this jumble of virtual soapboxes, to determine the objectivity of many Web resources unless the purpose of the individual or group presenting the information is clearly stated. A phone number or postal address allows you to contact the group or company and ask for more information.