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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


  • 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?



Authorship

Authorship information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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


N.B. information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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?


  • Does the author provide details of research methods used? information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

  • 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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

Is the information too elementary or too technical?

Is it appropriately targeted?


Writing style

Writing Style information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

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 information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

  • Often individual preferences


Evaluate these sites
Evaluate these Sites information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

  • 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 ]


  • Furnetics information, writings etc. that we wish to use in our research endeavors.

    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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