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Jill Borin & Molly Wolf December 5, 2012 How to Evaluate Blogs for Academic Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Jill Borin & Molly Wolf December 5, 2012 How to Evaluate Blogs for Academic Research."— Presentation transcript:


2 Jill Borin & Molly Wolf December 5, 2012 How to Evaluate Blogs for Academic Research

3 What is a Blog?

4 Blogs are most like… Editorials that appear in magazines, journals, and newspapers:

5 Evaluation Criteria for Blogs 1. Authority 2. Accuracy 3. Currency 4. Objectivity 1. Language 2. Appearance 3. Usefulness 4. Influence Traditional Evaluation Criteria Criteria Specific to Blogs

6 Traditional Evaluation Criteria: New Questions Authority: o Does the blog include upfront bio, credentials and contact information? o Are blog posts signed by an identifiable author? o Does the blogger have expertise or influence on the topic of the blog? Accuracy: o Does the blog include a blogroll of already-known-to-be-credible blogs? o Does the blog include hypertext links leading to reputable sources of information?

7 Traditional Evaluation Criteria: New Questions Cont. Currency: o Is this blog alive, containing current and regular posts from the author? o Does the blog provide additional information about the timing of this blog in relation to its content? Objectivity: o Is the blog upfront about its bias? o Is the blog author tolerant of opposing points of view, recognizing other points of view? o Does the blog include any sponsored links or advertisements?

8 Criteria Specific to Blogs: Language: How sophisticated is the language and the spelling? Does the blog contain reasonable and rational language, a reserved tone, as well as explanations, definitions, clarifications?

9 Criteria Specific to Blogs: Appearance Does the blog have a professional appearance? Does the blog use visual elements effectively?

10 Criteria Specific to Blogs: Usefulness Is this blog useful for academic research? Are there reputable outside sources that can assert the usefulness of this blog?

11 Criteria Specific to Blogs: Influence Is it easy to obtain information about the community to which this blog belongs, and the number of blogs that link to this blog? What is the influence of this blog on debate about the topic? At what point in a story’s lifetime did a post appear?

12 Currency Authority

13 Objectivity Authority Currency and Influence

14 Examples of Usefulness: Scholarly articles that have cited this blog Fakhouri, R. (2010). The most dangerous blot in our constitution: retiring the flawed Electoral College contingent procedure. Northwestern University Law Review, 104 (2), 705-739. Retrieved from  13 See Nate Silver, 12th Amendment Update: Tie Probability Continues to Increase, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT, Sept. 19, 2008, Gerstle, G. (2010). The GOP in the age of Obama. New Labor Forum, 19 (3), 23-31,114. Retrieved from  12 Nate Silver, "What Tuesday Really Meant,", May 19, 2010, available at 0/05/ 0/05/what-tuesday-really-meant.html Sanders, S. (2012). The constitutional right to (keep your) same-sex marriage. Michigan Law Review, 110 (8), 1421-1481. Retrieved from  114 See Nate Silver, Gay Marriage Opponents Now in Minority, (Apr. 20, 2011, 11:18 AM), Skocpol, T. & Jacobs, L. R. (2012). Accomplished and Embattled: Understanding Obama's Presidency. Political Science Quarterly 127 (1), 1-24. Retrieved from http://0-  36 Nate Silver, "Freshman Republicans Push House Toward Right," The New York Times, 12 July 2011, accessed at

15 Influence Accuracy

16 More evidence of Accuracy

17 More Evidence of Influence and Usefulness - Awards & Recognition  2012: Earned a Webby Award for "Best Political Blog" from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.  2011: Named among "The Best Blogs of 2011" by Time Magazine.  2010: listed Nate Silver as one of seven bloggers among "The Most Powerful People on Earth.”  2009: Named among "Our Favorite Blogs of 2009" by PC Magazine.  2009: Earned a "Bloggie" as the "Best Weblog about Politics" in the Weblog Awards.  2008: Described as "one of the breakout online stars of the year" in The New York Times.  2008: First blog ever selected as a Notable Narrative by the Niemen Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

18 Conclusion This evaluation has demonstrated that the blog is Accurate, Current, Objective, and Authoritative. In addition it has demonstrated that it is Useful and Influential presenting information with sophisticated Language and a professional Appearance. Therefore, the blog has proven itself to be a reliable and unbiased source of information on the 2012 presidential election.

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