7. Evaluating Internet Sources Power Point

Evaluating the Internet
Why is the internet (the free web) both a “good” and “bad”
place to find information for a scholarly paper?
“Good” Source
“Bad” Source
Ask yourself: Is the site good enough to cite?
Since sites on the
Internet are not “policed”
and reviewed by editors,
you have to become a
detective to determine
whether a site is reliable
enough for your research.
How can you tell if you
are using a “good” source?
Use the 5 W’s
The first “W”: Who
What do you know about the author?
Are the author’s credentials, education and
expertise enough to assure you that the
information in this source is reliable and
2. If there are no credentials listed for the author,
does the site have a reliable sponsor or
3. An email address with no additional
information is not sufficient for assessing the
author’s credentials.
What if you can’t find information
about the author?
Look for clues to answer the
question who?
Words and phrases to look for:
– About us, Who Am I, FAQs, For More,
Company Information, Profiles, Our Staff,
Email the author
– You can write a polite email asking for more
More clues . . .
Do a link check
– In Google or AltaVista type
– Your results will show which other sites have
chosen to link to this page. If respectable
institutions have linked to a site, that provides
a clue about the site’s credibility.
Does the site appear in major subject
directories like Librarians Index to the
Internet (www.lii.org)?
Truncate the URL
– Go from:
The second “W”: What
What is the purpose of the site and how accurate is it?
What is the purpose of the site (e.g.
advertising, informational, persuasive,
etc.) and does that purpose fit your paper?
Can the accuracy of facts, statistics and
other information be verified through other
Do there appear to be errors on the page
(spelling, grammar, facts) that make this
site a poor choice?
Looking closely at the URL can help you
with the “what” question!!!
. gov = Government Sites
2. . edu = Educational Sites
3. . org = Organizations
a. Example A
b. Example B
.com = Commercial Sites
a. Example A
b. Example B
5. .net = Network sites
The third “W”: When
1. When was the site last created or
updated? Undated factual and statistical
information is no better than anonymous
information; don’t use it.
2. Is the information current enough for
your paper’s purpose?
The fourth “W”: Where
Where did the site get its information?
In other words, what are its sources?
1. Are there indicators of quality information
such as a list of sources, bibliography,
related sites, additional links?
2. Are these sources real? Reliable?
Credible? Can you, your teacher or
librarian verify them?
The bottom line . . .
Don’t take Internet sources at face value!!!
The fifth “W”: Why
Why should (or shouldn’t) you use this
site for your scholarly research?
Your answers to the previous questions should
enable you to answer the question: Is the site
good enough to cite?
Your teacher will evaluate your work based on
the quality of the sources you select. Don’t settle
for good enough!!!
Remember, the internet (free web) is NOT your
only choice. Use print sources and subscription
databases since these have already been
evaluated for their credibility and content.