As we learn from our study of the Internet in chapter 9, the information we receive online isn’t always reliable. We find authoritative information alongside out-dated, and even fraudulent content, otherwise known as “fake news.” This makes the reliability of information questionable.
Library experts recommend using these 4 criteria to evaluate web site content…particularly for research-related information:
- Attribution: does the website contain the author’s name and ways to contact the author? Is the information from a credible organization? Do you see e-mail addresses or phone numbers to contact authors? Are any URLs provided actually affiliated with a reputable organization? Dated or anonymous information may be suspect.
- Authority: what are the qualifications of the person or organization whose content is provided? Are their credentials included? How about footnotes or links to related sites? If you cannot locate ways to check if the information is reliable, the source may not be worth using.
- Objectivity: Does the author appear to have a personal agenda or secondary objectives? Are opinions obvious…and just how are they expressed? Does the content appear to resemble more of an advertising/persuasive slant than information-based? If so, it may be biased.
- Currency: is the website or web content recent? What date does the site indicate as the most recent update? When was the content written? If you can’t tell, you might want to assume it’s out of date.
Using the four criteria for evaluating the credibility of a web site, pick two sites that address one topic of your choosing. Then, apply each of the four standards to both sites, and make a decision as to whether the information on each site is believable. Provide specific examples and explanations for your opinions. If the sites seem biased, note that, and explain how you concluded that.
In a final paragraph, summarize your thoughts and overall findings about the two sites. Remember, TWO sites, ONE topic. Both of the websites should be about the same topic. You are comparing the reliability of the information on the two sites using the four criteria. The two sites might be presenting opposing viewpoints, which would be good to determine the reliability of each so you can decide which to believe, or they might agree on their viewpoint of the topic but have different ways to present it.
To format your paper, separate out the information you write about each website. Then, please write a heading for each of the four individual criteria, followed by your evaluation of that criteria. I want to be assured that you cover each of the four criteria for BOTH sites, individually…so separating them out, individually, will be of great benefit. Minimum of 500 words, max 1500
***Note: please do not use Wikipedia as one of your websites. It is a good place to find additional sources, but find a more reputable website to reference.
Some topical examples of what others’ have researched in the past:
Pregnancy, School districts, Skin damage from the sun, Specific health-related issues, Nutrition, Diet fads, Keto vs. Low-fat diets, Smoking, Vaping, Exercise myths, Alternative medicine. If you have a question as to whether your chosen topic is acceptable, please contact me.