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Conducting web-based research: Evaluating Web Resources

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Evaluating Web Resources

Evaluating web resources

 It is very important that you evaluate the information that you find when searching the web.  Ideally you need to make sure that you use information that satisfies the following criteria:

Authority

Information that is accurate and from a stated author who has authority on the topic in question.

Currency

Information that is current and so not out of date.

View point

Information that is objective or where bias is clearly declared.

Comprehensiveness and level

Information that covers an area in a comprehensive way and is appropriate to the level of analysis for which you want to use it.


If you think a source of information does not fulfil certain of the above criteria you need to think carefully before using it.


Evaluation Questions

Use these questions to help you to evaluate online information:

 Authority

               1.   Is there a stated author or is the information anonymous?

               2.    Can you tell if the author is a qualified authority on this subject?  Is evidence provided in supoort of ideas or views?
                      Are there accurate references or links to other sources that you can follow up?
                     Is there any data or statistics provided?

               3.   Does the author work for a particular institution or organisation such as a respected professional association,
                    educational institution or commercial publisher?                  

               4.   Is the information provided subject to peer review or an editing process?

Currency

               1.   When was the information created or last updated?

               2.   Does the website look like it is still being maintained?

               3.   Are any links to other websites still working?

View point

               1.   How objective is the information? Is it slanted in a particular direction? Is the author’s perspective clearly stated?

               2.   What is the purpose of the information? (to inform/sell/persuade)

               3.   Is there any advertising/marketing on the page?

Comprehensiveness and level

               1.   How comprehensive is the information?

               2.   What kind of audience is it aimed at?

               3.   Is the information too basic or too advanced for your purposes?