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Published byShanon Tucker Modified over 7 years ago
RESEARCH Checking Reliable Sources
Why do I need to check if a website is reliable? Unlike most traditional written information, no one has to approve a website before it is put online. Anyone can create a website to inform, to persuade, and to sell.
Six Main Types of Websites Advocacy: To sway your opinion Commercial: Tries to sell you something Informational/Educational: Tries to give you facts Personal: Provides a forum for personal expression Entertainment: For your amusement News: Provides news and current events
Examine the end or suffix of the domain name : The suffix identifies who the source of information is and, therefore, what their purpose is in conveying that information.
Examples of Domain Suffixes.com – A commercial site. Purpose to sell a product or service. May have a built-in bias that you must be aware of..biz – A business that could be trying to sell a product or service. May have built-in bias..edu – A school, university, museum, or educational site. Normally reliable..gov – A U.S. government site. Normally reliable..int – An international institution. Normally reliable.
Examples of Domain Suffixes (cont).mil – A U.S. military site. Normally reliable..museum – A museum. Often reliable.name – An individual Internet user. Not reliable and may have bias.net – A network service provider, Internet administrative site..org – An organization, often non-profit. These sites can provide accurate information, but usually have bias..pro – A professional’s site. ~ (tilde) or % – A personal site that varies in its credibility
How to tell if a website is accurate and reliable: Five criteria to use when evaluating a website: 1.) Accuracy 2.) Authority 3.) Objectivity 4.) Currency (Timelines) 5.) Adequacy (Coverage)
Accuracy- Ask yourself these questions: Who wrote the page and can you contact him or her? If a person doesn’t want to claim their own work, do you really want to use it as research? What is the purpose of the document and why was it produced? Was this page written to sell me something, persuade me, or to inform me?
Accuracy- Ask yourself these questions: (cont.) Is this person qualified to write this document? When researching genocide, a person who has their doctorate may be more qualified to write about the subject than a freshman in high school. Is the author connected with an organization or affiliation? For example, if you are doing research on President Obama’s efforts for improving international human rights, you may not want an author who has ties to a left or right extremist group.
Authority – Ask yourself the following questions: Who published the document and is it separate from the "Webmaster?" Check the domain of the document, what institution publishes this document? A lot of universities have their staff create websites on their schools server. So a page that has harvard.edu may be a reliable source.
Authority – Ask yourself the following questions: (cont.) Does the publisher list his or her qualifications? What are the credentials listed by the Author? If you are looking up information on the United States response to international Genocide, a Political Science Professor may be a more reliable source than an Art Professor.
Objectivity – Ask yourself these questions: What goals/objectives does this page meet? Is the website really an advertisement masked as information? Are there a lot of ads on the page? How detailed is the information?
Objectivity – Ask yourself these questions: (cont.) What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author? Does the author present all opposing viewpoints to an issue or just one?
Currency (Timeliness) – Ask yourself these questions: Is there a date on the website? Is the date when it was updated or created? If a website was created in 1995 and hasn’t been updated since then, it may not be the best information.
Currency (Timeliness) – Ask yourself these questions: (cont.) Does the site have a lot of dead links? If a site doesn’t have a date, but has a lot of dead links, then it is a pretty good indication that the site hasn’t been updated recently. How current does my information need to be? Be mindful if you are seeking historical facts or more recent information.
Adequacy – Ask yourself these questions: What topics are covered? What does this page offer that isn’t found anywhere else? How in-depth is the material?
Note: Scholarly Journals Scholarly or peer-reviewed journals have collections of articles written by experts in academic or professional fields. Their intended audience is other scholars and professionals. Journals are excellent for finding out what has been studied or researched on a topic and to find bibliographies that point to other relevant sources of information. Try searching: scholar.google.com
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