Homework Center: Finding Information on the Internet: Evaluating Web Information
Evaluating Web Information
There is a wide variety of information available on the Web, making it one of the most powerful tools for doing research. But unlike most other traditional forms of information, no one is required to check Web information before it is posted and made public. As a result, the quality of information on the Web ranges from very high to very poor. It's up to you evaluate, or judge the value of, the information you find on the Web to make sure if it seems trustworthy.
The first step in evaluating Web information is to know the kind of site you are accessing. You can tell this by paying attention to the domain of the address. Different domains often will contain different kinds of information, even on the same subject. Here are some of the most common domains:
You can generally expect the information on .gov and .mil sites to be accurate. The information on .edu sites is generally accurate. However, if an .edu site also has a tilde symbol (~) in the address, it is a personal page and needs further evaluation. Sites with domains of .net, .com, and .org also require more evaluation.
The CARS Checklist
You can use the CARS checklist (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support) to help you evaluate information on the Web. Not every Web page will meet every part of this checklist. But familiarizing yourself with the items on this list will help you better and more quickly evaluate the information you find.
Don't believe everything you read on the Web! You need to judge how truthful the information is. Ask yourself these questions to help you evaluate the credibility of a Web site:
Remember that almost anyone can publish information on the Web. Ask yourself this question as you read through the information:
When you do research on the Web make sure the information you find is not biased. Keep this question in mind as you research the Web:
Because almost anyone can publish information on the Web, you need to make sure that the information can be backed up. Ask yourself this question to help you judge the extent of the support the author provides:
Use the worksheet to help you evaluate Web information.
Evaluating Web Information Worksheet
Click on the following link www.mgfx.com/butterfly/ and examine the Web site. Then answer the questions that follow.
Who is responsible for the information on this site? What are this person's qualifications for writing about this subject?
Is there a date that tells you when this site was last updated? Is the information on this page up to date?
Do you think this site is trying to convince you of something? If so, what?
Are there sources for the information on the Web site?
If you were writing a paper on butterflies, would you judge this Web site to be a reliable source of information? Why or why not?
© 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Need even more information? Don't forget to search the reference sources of Infoplease for answers to your homework questions.