Estrategies for Evaluating Information

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Estrategies for Evaluating Information

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Estrategies for Evaluating Information

  1. 1. Strategies for Evaluating Information Tomado de Teaching and Marketing Electronic Information Programs , 2003 . Doanld A. Barclay
  2. 2. The Basic Strategy for Evaluating Information <ul><li>Question all information regardless of its source. </li></ul><ul><li>Be reasonable – no information can be absolutely perfect. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Currency <ul><li>Is the information up to date? </li></ul><ul><li>If it is not, does this matter for your purpose? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary-source information may be old but still valuable. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Example Of Currency Not Being Important <ul><li>What year did George Washington die? Any of the following sources could provide the correct (or incorrect) information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A book published in 1830. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An article printed in 1928. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Web page created yesterday. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Example Of Currency Being Important <ul><ul><li>I need information on a start-up company in which I might invest. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I need to decide on the best therapy for my asthma. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I need to know how many acres of rainforest remain in the Amazon Basin. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I need the most recent information on federal expenditures on education. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Currency <ul><li>If information is online and currency is important, when was the information last updated? </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware that date information was created may be different from date it was put in a particular “container.” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Original information : Galen’s writings on medicine. Created circa 160 to 207 AD. Container 1 : Manuscript book written in 1150. Container 2 : Printed book published in 1821. Container 3 : Web page created in 2002.
  8. 8. Authority <ul><li>Arguably the most important thing to consider when evaluating information. </li></ul><ul><li>Authority refers to who created the information and is responsible for its credibility. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Authority <ul><li>Personal Author </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An individual of group of individuals acting as an author. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Corporate Author </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A business, agency, organization, or other body acting as an author. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Authority <ul><li>Who is the author? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Author should be clearly identified. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is the author an authority? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does the author have the education, experience, or combination of the two to write authoritatively about the topic in question? </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Authority <ul><li>Is the author affiliated with a reputable institution (university, agency, business, etc.)? </li></ul><ul><li>Authors sometimes exaggerate, lie, or hedge about their qualifications. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What does it mean when an author claims to be “a leading researcher” or “a noted authority”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does a Ph.D. in music qualify an author as an expert on water pollution? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Publisher <ul><li>The publisher is the person or group who makes public a piece of information. </li></ul><ul><li>Many types of publishers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commercial. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government agency. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Association. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Publisher <ul><li>As a rule, the more reputable the publisher, the more reliable the information. </li></ul><ul><li>Self-published information is notoriously unreliable. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most Web pages are self-published. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Funding <ul><li>Follow the money. </li></ul><ul><li>Who put up the money to make the information public? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a conflict of interest? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tobacco company pays for “research” into the effects of smoking on health. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Print Equivalent? <ul><li>Is a piece of electronic information the exact equivalent of printed information? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If so, then both are equally credible. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are there discrepancies—intentional or accidental—between “identical” electronic and print versions? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Purpose <ul><li>All information has some purpose, such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct sales. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertising. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public relations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Entertainment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocating social, religious, or political agendas. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authorial ego gratification. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Career advancement (including earning tenure). </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Purpose <ul><li>Information may have more than one purpose. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: A Web site could be both educational and entertaining. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does the purpose of the information reveal any conflicts of interest? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Conflict of Interest? <ul><li>Valerie’s Vitamin Villa offers many articles extolling the benefits of taking vitamins. </li></ul><ul><li>Valerie’s Vitamin Villa also sells vitamins online. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of this conflict of interest, information from articles found on Valerie’s Vitamin Villa should undergo extra scrutiny before it is accepted as credible. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Intended Audience <ul><li>The intended audience can tell you if the information is appropriate for your purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Sources of information on nutrition might be aimed at one of the following audiences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Children. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General public. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Owners of health-food stores. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scholarly researchers. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Accuracy <ul><li>Web standards for spelling and grammar are looser than for print. </li></ul><ul><li>However, information riddled with errors of spelling, grammar, punctuation, or fact should raise questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If source cannot correctly spell Prozac , can you trust it to provide accurate dosage information? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Independent Confirmation <ul><li>Does author accurately cite the specific sources used? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the same or similar information be verified by other sources? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are these sources truly independent of each other? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If the same bad information appears in 100 sources, that does not make it good information. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Coverage <ul><li>In what depth does the source cover its topic? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it include extraneous information? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it exclude information that should be included? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Final Thoughts on Evaluating Information <ul><li>Maintain a healthy skepticism about all information. </li></ul><ul><li>Question the purpose behind every piece of information. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be fooled by cool. Great graphics, polished presentation, and glib language do not in themselves guarantee that the information being presented is good information. </li></ul>

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