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Evaluating Websites


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Students need help learning that just because it came from Google doesn't make it factual. This is a powerpoint lesson that reviews how to evaluate a website. It is used in conjunction with live examples, Nettrekker, and a rubric activity for evaluating websites.

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Evaluating Websites

  1. 1. Evaluating Websites The Good, the bad, and the ugly…
  2. 2. Why does it matter? <ul><li>The World Wide Web has a lot to offer, but not all sources are equally valuable or reliable. </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone can put anything on the web without being censored or verified. </li></ul><ul><li>It is difficult to sift through the information to evaluate it. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Authority - What is the AUTHOR'S expertise? <ul><li>How much experience does the author have in this area? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the author's occupation? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the author's educational background? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the author's reputation among others in the field? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why evaluate the author? <ul><li>Anyone can author information on the Internet WITHOUT approval. </li></ul><ul><li>The content of most Web pages is published BEFORE it is evaluated by people with knowledge of the subject. </li></ul><ul><li>Books, magazines and other print resources are published AFTER thorough reviews by experts. </li></ul>
  5. 5. How do you evaluate? <ul><li>Look for other pages by the author on the same site or other sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Find additional pages by or about the author. Look for a header or footer showing affiliation. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Is the Publisher reliable? <ul><li>Look at the URL. </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the domain. . edu, .com,, .org, .net </li></ul><ul><li>Is this a national or international organization? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the mission of the organization? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this site sponsoring the author's page or just providing web space? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the site provide a contact for further information? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why is it important? <ul><li>Knowing about the organization that sponsors a site can sometimes provide clues for further investigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Educational, non-profit and commercial sites tend to sponsor different kinds of information. </li></ul><ul><li>knowing the name is no guarantee of quality. </li></ul>
  8. 8. How do you know? <ul><li>Identify the domain of the site (what are the last letters of the URL?). </li></ul><ul><li>Look for &quot;about this site&quot; links and follow them to find what the organizations have to say about themselves. </li></ul><ul><li>Backtrack through the hierarchy of the URL (also known as truncation). This will often take you to the main home page of the organization where relevant information may be found. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Accuracy and Objectivity <ul><li>Is the information reliable and error-free? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there an editor or someone who verifies/checks the information? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the information show a minimum of bias? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the page designed to sway opinion? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there any advertising on the page? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why does it matter? <ul><li>The accuracy of factual information can tell you something about the care the author took in preparing the document </li></ul><ul><li>Can provide clues to (lack of) expertise or potential bias in the ideas represented in the document. </li></ul>
  11. 11. How do you check? <ul><li>Cross check factual data with other documents on the web by searching for other pages containing information about the facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Even checking spelling and grammar can sometimes provide a clue about the care taken in creating a document. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Is it Current or Fresh? <ul><li>Is the page dated? If so, when was the last update? </li></ul><ul><li>How current are the links? Have some expired or moved? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the date of publication affect the reliability of the information? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the date the document was last updated affect the reliability of the information? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Coverage <ul><li>What topics are covered? </li></ul><ul><li>What is covered here that can’t be found anywhere else? </li></ul><ul><li>What is its intrinsic value? </li></ul><ul><li>How in-depth is the material? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Why is coverage important? <ul><ul><li>Web coverage often differs from print coverage. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>difficult to determine the extent of coverage of a topic from a web page -may or may not include links to other web pages or print references. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes web information is &quot;just for fun&quot;, a hoax, someone's personal expression that may be of interest to no one, or even outright silliness </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Let’s Watch a Clip…
  16. 16. Bibliography <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Discovering Language Arts: Research Skills (Grades 9-12). Discovery Channel School. 2007. unitedstreaming. 27 September 2007 <> </li></ul>