Evaluating Internet Information
Google and other research engines are frequently the first place that people look for information. The internet provides useful, current, and interesting information as well as very biased, inaccurate, or incomplete information.
The following criteria may help you determine whether to use a specific web site for information.
- Look at the URL and determine the type of domain (.com, .edu, .gov, .org, etc.)
- Identify who created the site; this information may or may not be listed on the website.
- Find the author's or publisher's credentials; this information may or may not be listed on the website. On many websites, the section called 'About Us' will provide this information.
- Consider the purpose of the site.
- Determine if the website provides unbiased information and/or covers more than one side of the topic.
- Try to evaluate if the information is factual or opinion.
- Consider whether the information can be verified elsewhere. Wikipedia is an example of an informational website that you might use if you can verify the data or facts in another reliable source.
- Some information changes rapidly. Determine when the information was published or posted.
- Find out when the site was created and how frequently it is updated. Check to see when it was last updated. Older information may or may not be useful to you.