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Strategies to Evaluate the Worth of a Web Resource. Research Methods and Data College of Advancing Studies Brendan Rapple. The Internet provides access to thousands of millions of web sites. There is a tremendous range in the quality and worth of these web sites.

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strategies to evaluate the worth of a web resource
Strategies to Evaluate the Worth of a Web Resource

Research Methods and Data

College of Advancing Studies

Brendan Rapple

slide2
The Internet provides access to thousands of millions of web sites.
  • There is a tremendous range in the quality and worth of these web sites.
  • It is essential to identity some methods of evaluating their value.
  • Why might one web site be very useful for research purposes, whereas another site might be totally useless?
slide3
As serious researchers we must carefully evaluate all data, information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.
  • However, we should be especially on guard and skeptical when dealing with material found on the Web.
authorship

Authorship

Who wrote the page? Position? Organizational affiliation? E-mail address? Biographical information?

Does he/she seem like someone who is qualified to write on this topic?

If there is no personal author, look for an agency or organization that claims responsibility for the page.

If no author\'s name is present, ask yourself why.

domains

Domains

May give hints about the producer/sponsor of the document.

.edu for educational or research institutions

.com for commercial enterprises or organizations

.org for nonprofit organizations

.net for networks

.gov or government agencies

.mil for military bodies

slide6
N.B.

If the URL is linked to a commercial Internet provider, it may indicate that the author has no official educational connections.

Any advertisement on a Web page might raise a red flag.

objective reasoning

Objective Reasoning

Be conscious of hidden biases

Is the information in the site a fact, an opinion or propaganda?

Is the information well researched?

Is the language inflammatory or full of bias?

Acknowledge your own personal biases – as researchers we should be impartial.

date of publication is very important

Date of Publication is very Important

For Web material, ask:

When was the research gathered and the piece first composed?

When was the site last revised and updated (look at the end of the page)?

If the author provides any links, do they work, and if so, are they up-to-date?

If the piece includes tables, charts, graphs, statistics, are dates provided?

Up-to-date information on a time-sensitive topic is important.

content
Content

To evaluate the content of a Web source ask

  • Does it provide in-depth or sketchy analysis of the topic?
  • Are the sources predominantly primary or secondary?
  • How reliable is the information?
  • Is the author\'s thesis supported by the evidence?
  • If it’s a controversial subject, does the author acknowledge this?
slide10
Does the author provide details of research methods used?
  • Can the reader duplicate the research methods for verification purposes?
  • Are there misspellings, poor composition, bad grammar?
  • Can you detect any prejudice or bias?
structure

Structure

Is the site easy to understand and use?

Do the color and background hinder readability?

Is the site design so elaborate that it detracts from the actual content?

Is the web site stable; can you access it whenever you want?

If there are graphics, audio, video, are they good? Do they serve any real function or are they just padding or decoration? Do they slow down transmission excessively?

intended audience

Intended Audience

Is the information too elementary or too technical?

Is it appropriately targeted?

writing style

Writing Style

Are the main points clearly presented?

Is the text easy to read, awkward, or disorganized?

Is the author\'s argument repetitive?

and so on

documentation

Documentation

What sort of bibliography and sources does the author provide?

Does the author make full citation to other works used?

For web sources, does the bibliography/works cited only contain Internet material or does the author also point to print resources?

aesthetic considerations
Aesthetic Considerations
  • Often individual preferences
evaluate these sites
Evaluate these Sites
  • Neu-BeCalm\'d: A New Beginning For Life! 

http://www.iwr.com/becalmd/

  • Martin Luther King Site

http://martinlutherking.org/

  • The True but Little Known Facts about Women and AIDS

http://147.129.226.1/library/research/AIDSFACTS.htm

  • The Onion: America’s Finest News Source

http://www.theonion.com/

  • Lasik @ Home

http://www.lasikathome.com/index.html

[ Some examples taken from Evaluating Internet Resources: Site Examples http://keithstanger.com/evalsite.htm ]

slide17
Furnetics

http://www.furnetics.com/

  • Computer Tan

http://www.computertan.com/

  • Storm Front

http://www.stormfront.org/forum/

  • RTY Hospital

http://www.rythospital.com/2011/

  • Save the Endangered Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

[ Some examples taken from Evaluating Internet Resources: Site Examples http://keithstanger.com/evalsite.htm ]

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