Already the summer is over and students are swarming campuses all over the country. With the beginning of classes underway, many things are happening such as reading books, adding/subtracting numbers, writing and most of all surfing the Internet for research purposes. I am convinced everyone has used engines such as Google and Yahoo in hopes of finding accurate and useful information in order to complete an assignment. Hundreds and hundreds of sites will appear before your eyes, but how do you know if the information is accurate or even trustworthy?
One of the many talents that one must acquire when surfing the “Net” for information is the ability to decipher quality information from misinformation. In an article from an online Journal (Teaching Today) called Evaluating Web Sites-Five Basic Criteria, one can learn effective ways of making sure he or she is using the appropriate and accurate information. They provide the reader with 5 basic criteria for evaluating Internet Sources.
The first and most important point that they mention is the accuracy of the Web site’s source and content. They suggest validating the information found with other websites that show up in the search. If one can identify the same information in more then one source then the chances of it being credible is higher. In the other case if one finds a source that conflicts with other Web sites it would be better not to use that information. The article also provides a list of questions to answer to further evaluate the accuracy. It is important to remember that anyone can publish on the Internet and evaluating the information is important.
The article then goes on to mention authority. They suggest 2 things to consider 1) author and text and 2) publisher and sponsor of site. They say that the author should be clearly identified, well-known in his or her field and easily accessible.
The usefulness of the site is also mentioned in the article. By quickly browsing the result list, by reading the title and description one can easily identify if it is even worth exploring the site. The most efficient way of finalizing your decision on using the site or not would be to read threw it thoroughly and then answer the 3 questions that the article provides you. If you can answer the question in a positive manner there is a good chance that you have chosen the appropriate site.
The article continues on and mentions current-ness, which simply refers to if the information, provided is current enough to make it credible, and presentation, which refers to presentation and access. The article also provides some questions to be answered about the presentation.
The more informed the students are about doing their research on the Web, the better they will be at finding and most accurate and credible information, which will make their learning and educational growth that much stronger.