Online Research (2)

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Online Research (2)

  1. 1. Online Research <ul><li>An introduction </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>The internet gives quick and easy access to billions of pages of information, making the World-Wide-Web an incredible research tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines can provide immediate links to thousands of websites on every subject imaginable. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>But mixed in with many high quality sites containing accurate and timely information are millions of pages of inaccurate, misleading, and deficient websites. </li></ul><ul><li>How can you tell the difference? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the best ways of doing research on the internet? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Judging the Quality of Websites <ul><li>There are six criteria for telling good websites from bad websites. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigation </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Authority <ul><li>Authority in this instance refers to the extent that the author of the website is an expert on its content. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: Anyone can publish anything on the internet! </li></ul>
  6. 6. Ask yourself <ul><li>Is there an author or contact person listed on the website? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a link to information about the author? Is the author qualified? Is the author an expert in the field? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the site's sponsor listed? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a link to information about the sponsor? Is the sponsor reputable? </li></ul>
  7. 7. A URL can provide clues to a site’s sponsor <ul><li>All websites have an address, a URL (Universal Resource Locater). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The URL for the Furr High School webpage is http://hs.houstonisd.org/FurrHS </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most URLs identify the type of organization sponsoring a page with a 3-letter code called a domain. If a site doesn't list any information about its origins, its domain can provide clues about its sponsor and/or author. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Common Domain Types <ul><li>.gov (US government) </li></ul><ul><li>.mil (US military) </li></ul><ul><li>.edu (accredited college or university) </li></ul><ul><li>.com (commercial/for profit) </li></ul><ul><li>.org (noncommercial/not for profit) </li></ul><ul><li>.net (computer network) </li></ul><ul><li>.int (international organization </li></ul><ul><li>.jp, .uk, .ru, .au, etc. (country identifiers) </li></ul>
  9. 9. As a general rule <ul><li>Government, military, & educational sites are more likely to be edited and have quality control. Mistakes and bias, however, are still possible, and these sites should still be looked at critically. </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial sites maybe selling products or hosting websites of individuals or groups. </li></ul><ul><li>Noncommercial and organizational sites maybe promoting the views of special interest groups. </li></ul><ul><li>All sites should be examined for bias and accuracy. </li></ul>
  10. 10. What if there is no author or sponsor given? <ul><li>Copy the URL of the site and go to Google. </li></ul><ul><li>Select “Advanced Search” and enter the URL under &quot;Page-Specific Search.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>This will show who is linking to the site. A lot of similar links will probably indicate a valid site. </li></ul>
  11. 11. What if authors or sponsors are listed, but no information is provided? <ul><li>Enter the authors’ or sponsors’ names in quotations into the Google search box, and see what kind of information comes up. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Accuracy <ul><li>Ask yourself </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there any obvious mistakes? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you check any of the information presented as facts? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Try a Google search on some of the statements or look in a text book or encyclopedia to check them. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Coverage <ul><li>Websites are generally not as thorough as books, and sometimes navigation makes it hard to see how much information is really present. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What topics are covered? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How in-depth is the material? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What does this webpage offer that other sources do not? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How valuable is this information to your search? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Compare the content with the coverage in similar sites to be sure that you are getting all the information that you need. </li></ul><ul><li>If pieces of information still seem to be missing from your internet searches, try using more specific key words. </li></ul><ul><li>Key words can be found from encyclopedia articles and other books on your topic. (If worse comes to worse, ask a librarian.) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Objectivity <ul><li>Remember: The internet is a public forum where individuals are free to express their opinions and beliefs however they choose. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is opinion being presented as fact? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the information biased? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are all sides of the issue fairly presented? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the page designed to sway opinion? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the language inflammatory? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. How can you detect bias? <ul><li>Look for a mission statement or an “about” section on the site’s homepage. </li></ul><ul><li>Compare the site with other sites relating to the same subject. </li></ul><ul><li>Do a Google link check just like you did with accuracy to see who else is linking to the site. </li></ul><ul><li>Compare the site to authoritative print sources, like encyclopedias & textbooks. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Currency <ul><li>Remember: the web is a dynamic resource; it is constantly changing. A frequently updated site is likely to have the most accurate and new information. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the page dated? (Check the bottom of the page.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How recently was it updated? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If there are links, are they still working? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there any obviously outdated statements? </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Navigation <ul><li>Remember: When a site is badly organized or difficult to navigate, you may have trouble finding the information you need. Likewise, if it is slow, it may not always be available . </li></ul><ul><li>Ask </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is the page well organized? Do you see a list of contents? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are links clearly visible? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the site take a long time to load? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are errors reported when the site loads? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Note </li></ul><ul><li>Just because a site looks good does not mean that it is easy to navigate or that it contains accurate information. </li></ul>
  20. 20. More tips <ul><li>Google is a great search engine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>for finding pictures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For very narrow search queries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For looking up authors’ & sponsor’s names </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google is not good for general searches. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Often millions of hits are produced for a single inquiry. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results are not filtered for authority, accuracy, or anything else. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. For better search results <ul><li>Use HISD Online Resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessed through the library links on Furr Library Homepage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Also accessed directly at http://www.hisdlibraryservices.org/online_resources.htm </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be used at home. Ask your librarian for the Username & Password. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. You are now ready to do online research.
  23. 23. References <ul><li>INFO CRITIC: evaluating information on the World Wide Web . Texas Tides. Accessed March 17, 2007. http:// tides.sfasu.edu/InfoCritic/index.htm . </li></ul>
  24. 24. PowerPoint created by Gerrod George, Librarian Furr High School Houston, Texas

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