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Evaluating Internet Resources: Home
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.
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?
The following links can help you to verify facts or claims.
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
The following websites can help you evaluate the bias of a particular news outlet.
This database provides an unbiased overview of topics and opposing arguments.
Points of View Reference Center is designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. The database provides 250 topics, each with an overview (objective background/description), point(argument), counterpoint (opposing argument), and Critical Thinking Guide.
SIRS Knowledge Source provides an overview of current issues and links to articles discussing the differing viewpoints.
SIRS Knowledge Source is a portal to articles, primary sources, websites and graphics to support K-12 students with research, study and homework. Knowledge Source consists of the following collections: SIRS Issues Researcher—Covering the pros and cons, Leading Issues most studied and debated by students SIRS Government Reporter—Historic and Government Documents, Directories and Almanacs SIRS Renaissance—Current perspectives on the arts and humanities SIRS WebSelect—Collection of editorially-selected reliable and credible educational websites covering all curriculum topics
CQ Researcher provides articles about current issues including an overview, history, and discussion of the pros and cons.
Each report is written by an experienced journalist and features comments from experts, lawmakers and citizens on all sides of every issue. Numerous charts, graphs and sidebar articles, plus a pro-con feature, chronology, lengthy bibliographies and a list of contacts, round out each report. There are 44 reports done each year and four expanded reports.
Explores a single "hot" issue in the news in-depth each week. Topics range from social and teen issues to environment, health, education and science and technology. Some recent topics include: Biotech Foods; Energy Policy; Kids in Prisons; Middle East Conflict; Testing in Schools.