Validating research information from the internet
Evidence of quality control of Internet material includes these items: Pay attention to the tone and be cautious of highly emotional writing. Working links indicate the website is being maintained and updated regularly. Information serves as the basis for beliefs, decisions, choices, and understanding our world. Emotional earnestness accompanied by exaggeration or absolutes. Not only can it be a waste of time to read through a site and implement the information and suggestions found there, only to later find that they were inaccurate, but such sites may pose a health or safety problem if that information directly affects your health and safety or that of your family, pets, employees, co-workers, or clients.
Similarly, a reputable source might be giving up-to-date information, but the information may be only partial, and not give the full story. Timeliness Some work is timeless, like the classic novels and stories, or like the thought provoking philosophical work of Aristotle and Plato. Accuracy up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Are the sources listed? Not only can it be a waste of time to read through a site and implement the information and suggestions found there, only to later find that they were inaccurate, but such sites may pose a health or safety problem if that information directly affects your health and safety or that of your family, pets, employees, co-workers, or clients. Contact us How to evaluate website content How do you tell when information you find on the internet is reliable? Bad grammar or misspelled words. File File new information in your mind rather than immediately believing or disbelieving it. Be aware that some organizations are naturally not neutral. Many students, for example, lack fundamental skills to critically evaluating, questioning, and authenticating content. Fairness Fairness includes offering a balanced, reasoned argument, not selected or slanted. Corroboration See if other sources support this source. If, for example, you find an article, "How Plants Grow," and children are the intended audience, then the material may be too simplified for your college botany paper. Indicators of a Lack of Support As you can readily guess, the lack of supporting evidence provides the best indication that there is indeed no available support. Breathless, sweeping generalizations should set off your baloney detector. Is the name of the publication obvious? How frequently is the website updated? If a claim being made is surprising or hard to believe, use caution and demand more evidence than you might require for a lesser claim. Very professional and sophisticated Web page templates are available for a few dollars, so that anyone and his pet skunk can put up a site that looks expensive and authoritative. At such a price, there muist be the temptation for unscrupulous people to paint forgeries. How does the writer know this? And writing that attempts to inflame your feelings to prevent you from thinking clearly is also unfair and manipulative. Given the availability of inexpensive yet sophisticated web authoring tools, anyone can design a good looking site, but appearances are not necessarily indicative of the accuracy or timeliness of the information found on the site. Information presented on organizational web sites On-line journals that use refereeing peer review by editors or others Postings of information taken from books or journals that have a quality control process Note: It is fine simply to remember that someone claims XYZ to be the case. If you want reliable facts, then using facts from a source that meets certain criteria of quality will help assure the probability that those facts are indeed reliable. Is it relevant for your assignment or research?
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