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Just Google It

Just Google It

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Published by kjames329
A Better Way to Find Reliable Information Online
A Better Way to Find Reliable Information Online

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: kjames329 on Feb 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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´Just Google It«µ A Better Way to Find Reliable Information Online

A Presentation by Kristel Shutt James Created for CIMT509 Summer I 2010

So here it is«
«Mr. James has finally given you the specific details of the English research paper. You resist the temptation to procrastinate and head to the library. You know your topic and thesis; all you need is some specific information to support your ideas. «So now what? If you are like most people, you head for the computer, type in those magic words, and«


Your strategy is logical, right? After all, Google is one of the largest search engines in the world, capable of locating millions of matches to your search request.

There·s just one problem«
I found all these creatures using Google!
A living, breathing tree octopus?

A real beach bunny? An 18th- Century Robot?

How is that possible?
‡ Anyone can create a Web site. Most sites are created by non-experts. non‡ No one evaluates the quality or accuracy of the information found on the Web. ‡ Since much of your grade depends upon the quality of your research, you need to be sure that the information you include is accurate. ‡ The purpose of this presentation is to show you how to evaluate the resources that Google and any other search engine helps you locate.

Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages
‡ Throughout your schooling, you¶ve learned that one way to collect information is to ask questions. We¶re going to use those same questions to guide our evaluation of web pages. o Who? o What? o When? o Why? o How?

Criteria #1: Who?
Identifying the author of resource is the first step in evaluating a resource.
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Who wrote the page? What makes him/her an expert on this topic? How can you contact him/her? Can you verify the credentials or contact information? Who published the page? What is the connection between the author and publisher? What do others think of this page?

How can you find these answers?

Criteria #1: Who?
Who wrote the page?
‡ Finding the author¶s name is relatively easy. Web pages are often constructed in much the same way magazine articles are, with a byline to identify the author.
The byline clearly identifies the author¶s name.

Criteria #1: Who?
You can locate clues about the authorship of a web page from the URL, the Uniform Resource Locator, the unique address that identifies where the information can be located on the internet.
‡ Start with the domain type. The suffix tells you the what type of site it is:
± ± ± ± ± .gov = government .mil = military .edu = education .org = nonprofit organization .net = network organization
Which type of site is most appropriate to your topic?

± .com = for-profit/business organization for-

Criteria #1: Who?
And there¶s more you can learn from the URL.
‡ Look for a personal name followed by a tilde (~), a percent sign (%), or the words ³members,´ ³users,´ or ³people.´ These indicate the site is a personal web page. Personal sites generally offer someone¶s opinion.
± What can we learn from this URL?
~ followed by a name means it¶s a personal page

http://pubweb.acris.nwu.edu/ http://pubweb.acris.nwu.edu/~abutz
.edu means its based in an educational environment A personal site housed in an educational institution may be reliable«if the person¶s credentials relate to the topic.

Criteria #1: Who?
What do we know about the author?
‡ What makes him/her an expert on this topic? Investigate by looking for more information.
± Does the site identify education degrees or other reasons for expertise? ± If not, use Google or Yahoo! to search for the author.


How can you contact him/her? Check the site for contact information.
‡ Don¶t settle for just an email address. A reputable resource will provide additional information.

Criteria #1: Who?
But what if you can¶t find an author? Where do you look then?
‡ Who published the page?
± The publisher is the agency or person who operates the server which hosts the web page. ± It is usually named in the first part of the URL (between http:// and the first /)

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA254 410.html
School Library Journal is the publisher. Good news! It¶s a reputable periodical.

Criteria #1: Who?
We need to look further.
‡ What is the connection between the author and publisher?
± Look for information about the publisher. What does information available in About Us, Philosophy, Background, Biography, or Mission Statement tell you about the author and/or publisher? ± Does this interest align with the subject and message of the web page?

Criteria #1: Who?
Another way that we can evaluate the credibility of a web page is to investigate how others view the page and its author.
‡ Who links to the page?
You can find out about linking pages by pasting the URL into the search box of www.alexa.com and clicking ³Get Details.´

Criteria #1: Who?
Does this summary sound like a reputable resource?

Sometimes you can find reviews of sites here. But not this time. Does that tell you anything?

1262 sites link to this one. Does that make it reputable? Click on the number to find out more.

Criteria #1: Who?
What kind of sites link to your page?
Do these look like reliable sites? Are they appropriate for research? ³Cheesy_music´? ³AMAZING-How_Tin_Foil _Is_Made´? Maybe not.

When you click on the number, you¶ll find a list of sites linking to the page you are investigating.

Criteria #2: What?
The ³What´ questions are designed to get you thinking about the purpose for the page¶s creation. What does the author hope to achieve by publishing the site? Is it intended to inform? Persuade? Sell? Entertain? You must view sites critically in order to assess the value of information presented at the site.
‡ What is the purpose of the site? ‡ What is the site¶s intended audience? ‡ Does it present general or specific information?

Criteria #3: Why?
The ³Why´ and ³What´ overlap somewhat since both are concerned with the motivation of the author. However, the ³Why´ questions are intended to examine more deeply the motives of the author and/or publisher.
‡ Why was the site created? ‡ What point-of-view is reflected in the information and how it point-ofis presented? ‡ Does it push a specific perspective and present biased information? ‡ Does is contain advertising? If so, is there a conflict of interest between the ads and the content?

Criteria #4: When?
With some topics, the currency of information is relatively unimportant (e.g. a site that provides access to photos from the Civil War), but one of the benefits of accessing the internet is having access to the newest information.
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ When was the information published? When was it last updated? Do links to other pages work? Does timeliness matter to your research topic?

Criteria #5: How?
The ³How´ questions focus on primarily on design elements. These are important because they show a creator¶s sophistication and concern about making information easily available to users.
‡ Is the site easy to navigate? Do all links and buttons work? ‡ How professional does it look? Are there grammar and spelling errors? ‡ Can factual information be verified using other sources?

When you consider all these criteria and use the checklist your teacher has provided for you, you can make informed decisions about the credibility of the sources you are finding«and that will make your final product much more credible too! And remember, there¶s a lot more to research than to ³just Google it!´

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