Evaluating Internet Sources

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  • Q1
  • Q2-3In general, the publisher is the agency or person operating the "server" computer from which the document is issued. The server is usually named in first portion of the URL (between http:// and the first /)
  • Q4
  • Q4
  • Discuss examples:
  • Q5-6Who claims responsibility for the site? If there is only an email address, try emailing the author to ask for her/his name and background.
  • Q7
  • Q8Philosophy v. ResearchIf you are arguing about the philosophy behind test-based versus other methods of education, you can use philosophical articles regardless of their date. When discussing proven effects, though, you will want to know what the latest research shows and see reviews of research that indicate if current studies reinforce or revise previous findings.
  • Q9-11Does the author link to original studies or to news reports about studies?Follow links to check out sources used – are they primary or secondary sources?
  • Q12
  • Q13-14
  • Q15

Transcript

  • 1. Evaluating Internet Sources
    Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, PhD
  • 2. Objectives
    Learn to evaluate the validity and accuracy of information found online
    Learn how to determine the purpose of a web page and if online information is still current or relevant
    Develop skills for assessing bias
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5. Domain
    com: commercial
    org/net: primarily nonprofit organizations/networks (now open to anyone)
    edu: educational
    gov/mil/us: government/military
    non-US
    other:
  • 6. What can you tell from the URL?
    What can you tell from the server name? Who published the page? 
    Have you heard of this entity before?Does it correspond to the name of the site?
    Is it somebody's personal page?
    Look for a personal name following a tilde ( ~ ), a percent sign ( % ), or or the words "users," "members," or "people."
    Is the server a commercial ISP or other provider of web page hosting (like aol.com or geocities.com)?
  • 7. Look for information about the publisher
    Look for an “About Us,” “Biography,” or similar link. Check the top, bottom, and any sidebars.
    You made need to truncate back the URL to find more information. For example:
    http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/staiv.htm
    http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/
    http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/
    http://www.alfiekohn.org/
  • 8. Researching Authors and Publishers
    Google
    Google Scholar
    Google Books
    Google Blogs
    Library of Congress
    Library Databases
  • 9. Assessing Credibility
    Based on information about the publisher, does this site seem to be credible? Why or why not?
  • 10. Finding the author
    Check the top and bottom of the page and article. You may also need to check sidebars, captions, pull quotes, or introductions.
    If there is no name, is there an email address?
    Are the author’s qualifications listed?
    If not, or if the article is self-published, how can you confirm the author’s qualifications?
  • 11. Researching Authors and Publishers
    Google
    Google Scholar
    Google Books
    Google Blogs
    Library of Congress
    Library Databases
  • 12. Assessing Credibility
    Is the author qualified to write on this topic? Why or why not?
  • 13. Currency
    Is the information up-to-date?
    Does it matter? Why or why not?
  • 14. Documentation
    Focus on sources that provide references to help you evaluate the source and its arguments.
    What kinds of sources are listed? (newspapers, academic articles or books, blogs, polls, …)
    If links to online sources are broken or if sources are provided without links, how can you look up those sources?
    What other ways can you verify the evidence presented?
    Which sources listed might be useful for your project?
  • 15. Determining Bias and Point-of View
    Is the language/argumentation emotional or logical?
    Does the author overgeneralize or simplify the issues?
    If the piece presents an opinion/argument, does it offer good reasons and solid evidence to support it?
    Does the author present more than one view?
    Are different views presented in balanced fashion, or does the text support one side more than the other?
    If the text argues for one side, how does it represent differing points of view?
  • 16. Assessing Credibility
    Does the information seem reliable? Why or why not?
    Is the information useful for your purposes? Why or why not?
  • 17. Research the site further
    Alexa.com collects information on web usage
    Blogsearch.google.com searches blogs that may link to the site
    Search on Google for “link:” and the URL to find additional pages that may link to the site
  • 18. Determining Purpose
    What do you see as the primary purpose of the site?
    What evidence supports your view?
  • 19. Overall Evaluation
    What can you prove with this site?
    Is this site useful for your purpose?
    If not, what kinds of sources might provide more useful information?
  • 20. Objectives
    Learn to evaluate the validity and accuracy of information found online
    Learn how to determine the purpose of a web page and if online information is still current or relevant
    Develop skills for assessing bias