HOW TO EVALUATE WEB INFORMATION

Intro:

Congratulations. You have learned a lot if you read and followed the past five posts. Finding the information is only the first part. Now learn how to evaluate it.

http://lowertownstpaulmn.com/2016/07/why-not-just-google-it/

http://lowertownstpaulmn.com/2016/07/googles-better-search-methods/

http://lowertownstpaulmn.com/2016/07/get-beyond-google-advanced-search-page/

http://lowertownstpaulmn.com/2016/08/quick-information-operators/

http://lowertownstpaulmn.com/2016/08/what-is-the-invisible-web/

Your Accomplishments:

Using your acquired searching skills, you have searched for and found a huge number of pages of information. You have slowly brought the quantity down to a reasonable amount, something that you can read through and understand.

Now you need to evaluate and verify that material.

Don’t throw your hands in the air, this is very important and should not be skipped or not given the attention it needs.

Don’t be one of those people who repeats irresponsible opinion as fact. Check it out. Evaluate and verify.

Evaluation:

A lot of you have gone ahead and searched for how to evaluate web information .

You have found that most of the pages returned are from the .edu sites. Mainly the academic libraries of colleges and universities.

Historically librarians have been the guides into academic research and the authorities for writing ethics.

Many of these libraries have produced guidelines on how to  evaluate of all types of information and the web is no exception.

I have tried to boil down the web guidelines meant for advanced college level writing to a more practical level for us laypeople to use in everyday situations.

The guidelines that I have used in this compilation come from several academic libraries. They are not the only ones that produce guides on how to evaluate information . The ones that I have included are:

Olin & Uris Libraries at Cornell University

http://olinuris.library.cornell.edu

Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/01/

Southern Illinois University, School of Law Library

http://www.law.siu.edu/lawlib/

Meriam Library at California State University at Chico

http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/how.html

My recommended everyday guidelines for evaluation of web information

  1. Author Qualifications:
    1. Education? Subject competence? Documented expertise?
    2. Published also where?
    3. Associated with who?
    4. Links are live to author, b and c.
  2. Accuracy
    1. Type of site, .com or .org or .gov or ………?
    2. Follow the money, who is funding the entity, why?
    3. Can the information be corroborated elsewhere? Peer reviewed?
  3. Objectivity
    1. This is obviously biased, its misinformation or propaganda?
    2. Are the facts are backed up with a bibliography or table of references?
    3. Are the pages free of a lot of advertising or sponsored links?
  4. Timeliness
    1. What is the publishing date or last update?
    2. Is this an orphaned or superseded document?
    3. When was the web site or social media account established?

Conclusion:

These guidelines should be the minimum when you evaluate and verifiy any information found on the web.

Do not repeat anything that cannot be verified. Be ethical.

Bonus:

If you plan to write any kind of article for publication, please download guidelines from one of the academic libraries and read them thoroughly. I recommend the OWL site at Purdue University as the most complete and informative sites for both research and writing skill building. 

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/553/01/

For a slightly humorous set of guidelines try the U.S.C. Chico, Meriam Library, The CRAAP Test.

http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/how.html

Next Up:

The next post is part 2 of evaluation.

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