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Evaluating Internet Resources

Evaluating Internet Resources

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Evaluating the quality of information on the internet is necessary because freely available web sites almost never go through the peer review, editing, cataloging, indexing, and selection processes done to traditional journals and books. 


Evaluate the quality of information you find on the internet by these minimum criteria:


·        Authority:  It should be clear who is sponsoring the site, and verifiable information about the sponsor should be provided. 


·        Accuracy:  Expect few, if any, grammatical or spelling errors.  Sources of information should be clearly identified. Verify factual information by checking it against other sources of information.  If the information in the web page contradicts information in reputable sources, the author should say so, and explain why.


·        Objectivity:  Look for a statement of the sponsor’s point of view, and be sensitive to any expressions of bias.  Ask yourself, "What is the author’s motivation for publishing this?" Be sure to recognize and acknowledge the author's point of view.  If there is advertising on the web site, it should be separate from the information content.


·        Currency:  The site should indicate when it was most recently updated, and the update should be reasonable for the type of information being provided.


·        Coverage:  The site should thoroughly cover its topic, within the limits the authors set for themselves.  Coverage can be narrow or broad--the important thing is that the site does not claim to provide more information than it does, or claim to be authoritative when it is not.