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WRT - (Hinckley) Writing: Relevant, reliable websites

Finding Information on the Web

Not all internet websites are equally reliable and knowing how to evaluate a website is a valuable skill.  When using Google or another search engine to look for information, remember to:

  • Use search terms that include the important or key words in your research question. 
  • How do you know if a website is credible?  Use the ABC test as a checklist to make sure your source is authoritative.

A.B.C. Web Resources Evaluation

A.B.C.’s of Evaluating Web Resources: Use the rubric below to evaluate a web resource.

          

What is the title of the web resource? (e.g. Pima Community College)          

What is the web address? (e.g. www.pima.edu)

 

Criteria

What’s the score?

 

Authority

 

~Who is responsible for the information?

0 pts.

 

~There is no author or organization’s name listed.

 

~Author or organization is not an expert.

1 pt.

 

~There is an author’s or organization’s name only, no other information.

 

~Author or organization is not an expert.

2 pts.

 

~There is an author's or organization’s name with at least an email or phone number or physical address provided.

3 pts.

 

~There is an author's or organization’s full name with complete email, phone number, and physical address (all contact info provided).

Bias

~What is the purpose?

0 pts.

~Provide fake or false information.

1 pt.

~Sell something.

2 pts.

~Persuade readers.

3 pts.

~Provide unbiased information.

Credibility

~Where does the information come from?

 

~What are the author’s or organization’s credentials?

 

~When was it last updated?

0 pts.

~Does not provide any working links to credible sources.

OR

~No indication of last update.

OR

~Cannot verify credentials in a Google Search.

1 pt.

~Provides a limited amount of working (few broken) links to credible sources.

OR

~Updated within the last 4 to 5 years.

AND

~Can verify credentials in a Google Search.

2 pts.

~Provides all working links to credible sources.  

AND

~Updated within the last 2 to 3 years.

AND

~Can verify credentials in a Google Search.

3 pts.

~Provides all working links to credible sources.

AND

~Updated within the last year.

AND

~Can verify credentials in a Google Search.

Total Points =

What does the score mean?                                                                                                                   

7 to 9 points:  Excellent source for research.

4 to 6 points: Good source for a research paper or academic project but before using, confirm with other sources.

1 to 3 points:  Useful for ideas or casual projects. Do not cite as a reference for a research paper or project.

   0 points:     Highly questionable source. Do not use.

Domain Names

The URL for a website can tell you a lot about the purpose of a webpage. 

.com = commercial site

.net =network provider

.org =organization

.edu =education - school or university

.mil = military website

.gov = government website

.com, .net, and .org sites are less regulated, meaning anyone can register for a website with that domain.  .edu, .mil, and .gov sites are MORE REGULATED, and tend to be more reliable. 

What about Wikipedia?

LISTEN TO WIKIPEDIA

Wikipedia is a free, online encyclopedia that contains articles about nearly any topic.  It may be tempting to use it as a resource for an assignment, but keep in mind that most instructors WILL NOT accept wikipedia as an acceptable source.  Why?  Wikipedia entries can be edited by anyone that has access to a computer and creates a wikipedia account.  This often compromises the quality of information that may appear in Wikipedia entries. The last thing you want to do is to use false information in your assignments.

So what do you do?  Use Wikipedia as a starting point for your research, but, if you want to use information from it, try to verify it in another reputable source instead.