The internet is just a world passing notes around a classroom--
Search Engines and Filtering
Did you find information using a Search Engine?
Search engines--such as Google or Bing--use undisclosed algorithms to rank, sort and display results. Advertising, paid placements, and previous searches can affect these results, so different people can receive very different results for the same search. Here is an article and Search Engine Advertising Chart from Searchenginewatch.com that illustrates this point.
Watch this now famous TED talk about the "Filter Bubble":
Articles found through the library databases have already been evaluated and can almost always be trusted.
Some databases available through Luce Library:
The 5 W's Method
WHO wrote the page(s)?
WHAT is the site's main purpose?
WHERE did the information come from?
WHEN was the site written and/or updated?
WHY is this website useful or better than others?
The internet is a powerful resource for research, but every site must be examined with a critical eye to evaluate the information before including it in a paper or project. Here is a list of things to consider when looking at web resources:
Is the content up to date?
- When was the site created?
- When was the site last udated?
- Are links broken or no longer working? This can be a good indication of a site's age when dates are unavailable.
Is the information provided appropriate?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the information presented too elementary or too advanced?
- Is the site devoted to a specific topic or a broad range?
Who wrote this?
- Is the author's name or the publishing body prominently displayed or listed on the site?
- Are the author's credentials and/or biography listed?
- Is there contact information to reach the author?
- Does the site link to or from other trustworthy sites that verify the author's credentials?
- What does the site's address reveal about the author or source? i.e. .com, .edu, .org; look for personal names, "wiki", or known blog sites such as Wordpress in the address as clues to the appropriateness of a site for research
- Check the site's registry on betterwhois.com to verify the owner of the server
Is the information reliable?
- Are references cited?
- Is there a bibliography?
- Is there an explanation of research methods utilized?
- Does the site link to or from other reliable sources?
What is the Purpose (Objectivity) of this site?
- Are they trying to sell a product of idea?
- Does the author make their intention clear?
- Does the point of view seem objective and impartial?
- Is there a political, religious, institutional or other bias to the site?