My sources are unreliable, but their information is fascinating. - Ashleigh Brilliant
By the end of this section you should be able to
It is important to remember that anyone can publish on the World Wide Web. This means that the quality of the information you find on the Web must be evaluated very carefully. For a journal article to be published it usually goes through some peer review before it is accepted for publication. With a book you can judge quality by the reputation of the publisher.
Because of this you should consider evaluating the information you find on the Web very closely. The following points should help with your validating:
|Evaluation of Web documents||How to interpret the basics|
|1. Accuracy of Web Documents
|2. Authority of Web Documents
|3. Objectivity of Web Documents
|4. Currency of Web Documents
|5. Coverage of the Web Documents
|Putting it all together
FROM: Kapoun, Jim. "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523.
|Sifting through numerous documents retrieved from the
Internet is one of the researcher's most challenging tasks in the 21st
century. The criteria suggested in this section will go a long way towards
solving some of the questions of reliability that may arise.
To further develop your skills in this area, we recommend you complete the Internet Detective tutorial. This is an interactive, online tutorial which provides an introduction to the issues of information quality on the Internet and teaches the skills required to evaluate critically the quality of an Internet resource. This tutorial was produced as part of a European Union project called "DESIRE", aimed at enhancing information networks for research users.
Registration for the tutorial is free, and the tutorial may also be downloaded.
Retrieving information from the Internet for research purposes requires careful and methodical recording of the source of the information as well as evaluation. The form below supplies a way of recording information about documents retrieved from the Internet.
|CRITICAL EVALUATION OF A WEB SITE
©1996 Kathleen Schrock (email@example.com)
Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators -- http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/
Are you using dial-in access? YES / NO
URL of Web page you are evaluating :
Name of the Web page you are evaluating : _____________________________
Technical and Visual Aspects of the Web PageDoes the page take a long time to load? YES / NO
Do the pictures add to the page? YES / NO / NOT APPLICABLE
Is the spelling correct on the page? YES / NO
Are there headings and subheadings on the page? YES / NO
Is the author's e-mail address included? YES / NO
Is there a date of last update? YES / NO
Is there an image map (large clickable graphic w/ hyperlinks) on the page? YES / NO
Is there a table on the page? (You may have to look at the source code to tell.) YES / NO
On supporting pages, is there a link back to the home page? YES / NO
Are the links clearly visible and explanatory? YES / NO
Is there a picture or a sound included?
ContentIs the title of the page indicative of the content? YES / NO
Is the purpose of the page indicated on the home page? YES / NO
When was the document created? ____________________________
Is the information useful for your purpose? YES / NO
Would it have been easier to get the information somewhere else? YES / NO
Would information somewhere else have been different? YES / NO
Is a bibliography of print sources included? YES / NO
Is the information current? YES / NO
Does up-to-date information matter for your purpose? YES / NO
Does the information appear biased? YES / NO
Does the information contradict something you found somewhere else? YES / NO
Do most of the pictures supplement the content of the page? YES / NO / NOT APPLICABLE
AuthorityWho created the page? ___________________________________________
What organization is the person affiliated with?_________________________
Has the site been reviewed by an online reviewing agency? YES / NO
Does the domain (i.e. edu, com, gov) of the page influence your evaluation of the site? YES / NO
Are you positive that the information is true? YES / NO
What can you do to prove that it is true?______________________________
Are you satisfied that the information is useful for your purpose? YES / NO
Narrative EvaluationLooking at all of the data you have collected above while evaluating the site, explain why or why not this site is (or is not) valid for your purpose. Include the aspects of technical content, authenticity, authority, bias, and subject content.
Feedback? Write to Kathleen Schrock (firstname.lastname@example.org) Revised : 7/30/97
URL of this page : http://discoveryschool.com/schrockguide/evalhigh.html
Evaluating Internet Based Information http://lme.mankato.msus.edu/class/629/cred.html
Evaluating Web Sites: Criteria and Tools http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/webeval.html
Librarians' Index to the Internet http://lii.org/
Smith, Alastair G. (1997) Testing the surf: criteria for evaluating Internet information resources. The public-access computer systems review. vol. 8, no. 3. http://info.lib.uh.edu/pr/v8/n3/smit8n3.html
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