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Evaluating Internet Resources: Home

Summary

The internet is a great way to create, access and share information.  The problem with this is anyone can create and share content on the internet.  If you plan on using information found on a website or social media, you must evaluate that resource.  This is particularly true if you plan to cite this information in a paper or if you plan on passing this information along to others.

Quick Tips

Source- What do you know/ what can you find out about the author or publisher?

  • What are the author's credentials?
  • Is the author qualified to write about this topic?
  • What can you find out about this publisher?
  • Can you find this media outlet's Code of Ethics?
  • What is the url? (.com, .edu, .gov, .org, etc.)
  • Is this source known to be bias or lean in a particular direction?

Currency- Think about the topic: does it change rapidly?

  • When was this information published?
  • Does the website appear to be updated?
  • Is this a breaking news story?

Facts- Is the information in this resource true?

  • Do you see anything that is blatantly false?
  • Are there citations?
  • Can you verify this information elsewhere?
  • Are there spelling/punctuation/grammar errors?

Purpose- Why was this resource created?

  • Is it opinion, satire, news, advertisement?
  • Was this created to entertain, educate, convince?
  • Who is the intended audience?

Bias- Do you or the publisher hold bias on the subject?

  • Is this source known to hold strong beliefs on any particular subjects?
  • Could your own beliefs impact your evaluation of this source?

 

Unnamed or Anonymous Sources

How do you evaluate the trustworthiness of a news source if it the journalist's source has requested to remain anonymous?

We can't verify the facts that have been published so we need to evaluate the author and news organization.

  • Does this author regularly cite anonymous sources?
  • Does this author have connections to "higher ups?"
  • Can you find the news organization's code of ethics?  What does it say about sources?
  • Is the topic a sensitive or confidential subject that requires the source to remain anonymous?

Evaluating Sources

Evaluating Facts

The following links can help you to verify facts or claims.

What about pictures?  A Google Reverse image search can help you identify the source of an image or other locations where the image is used.

Evaluating Purpose

It might be difficult to identify a resource as satire.  Examples of satire include the website The Onion or television shows like the Daily Show.

Advertising is not always easy to identify.  Native advertising, for example, is disguised to match the platform it is on.  It may show up as a post on social media, appear as an article on a news site or a search result in google.

 

Evaluating a News Article

4 Moves and a Habit

Understanding Authority

Evaluating Bias

The following websites can help you evaluate the bias of a particular news outlet.

Do you understand all sides of an argument?  There are several databases that provide overviews of controversial or debatable topics.

TED