“The largest repository of knowledge ever created is rapidly becoming the single finest source for getting it wrong.” Keith Ferrell, former editor of Omni magazine.
“…a survey of 1,693 students…found that 22 percent believed that 80-100 percent of what they found on the net was truthful.” “In a national survey about news sources for Editor and Publisher (5/15/00), 76 percent of 550 regular Internet users said they could learn everything they needed to know from the net.” In the same survey, “51 percent said the Internet had the most accurate information.” In the same survey, although “a majority of students maintained that only 50-70 percent of what was on the Internet was true, they lacked sufficient strategies for deciding what was true and what wasn’t.” Block, Marylaine. "Gullible's Travels.” Library Journal, v127 i7 (April 15, 2002): S12(3).
Objectivity What to look for in websites: Accuracy Authority Timeliness Objectivity Timeliness Accuracy Authority
Accuracy Are there quotes? Are there spelling errors? Are any graphs or charts clear and easy to interpret? Accuracy NoYesDon’t know Are sources cited? Is there a bibliography?
Is there an author? Does the author have credentials? Is an organization associated with the website? Is there an “About Us” or “Contact Us” link? Anyone can author a website? Who’s your author? A celestial navigator or… ? Authority NoYesDon’t know
Does the page list a creation date? When was the site last updated? Does the information seem to be out-of-date and therefore irrelevant and/or unreliable? Are there links and do they work? Currency NoYesDon’t know
Objectivity Why is this information being provided? What is the domain? (.edu,.gov,.com,.org) Is there advertising? Are they trying to sell you something? Is someone trying to fool you? Is it a bogus website? Might the author have a bias? Click here to examine this website. Does the content seem to be factual or opinion? Authority NoYesDon’t know
Click on screens to compare and evaluate these websites.
Where do you find material for a research paper? scholarly full-text articles from online databases books encyclopedias/dictionaries microfiche/microfilm government documents websites that provide accurate information (.edu;.gov;.org) reference books 25% Articles in print journals 15%
Don’t be a fool! Don’t believe everything you read. Question. Evaluate. Think critically.
Gullible's travels: Marylaine Block shows how to teach students to guard against misinformation, disinformation, and spin on the net. http://libraryjournal.reviewsnews.com/index.asp?layout=article&articleid=CA210719 [Block, Marylaine. "Gullible's travels: Marylaine Block shows how to teach students to guard against misinformation, disinformation, and spin on the net.” (cover story). Library Journal, v127 i7 (April 15, 2002): pS12(3)] Microsoft Office. Design Gallery Live. http://dgl.microsoft.com/ Ferrell, Keith. “The largest repository of knowledge ever created is rapidly becoming the Single finest source for getting in wrong.” US Airways Attache, February, 2003. pp. 54-55. Created by Susan Metcalf and Jennifer Rudolph, Massasoit Community College, Spring 2003