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Evaluating Web Sites WWW Resources


Owens Library Resources Tutorial Embedded Guides Additional Resources

Owens Library Resources

This resource asks students to evaluate:
bullet Who is the author or company responsible for the content?
Students are encouraged to consult more than a company's Web site for information about a product or service.
bullet What references or documentation are provided?
Information provided should be supported by references or citations.
bullet How old is the information?
The date of the source should be appropriate for the topic.
bullet Why was the information published?

Students are cautioned to be suspicious of resources that advocate a point of view, encourage them to purchase a product, or advocate financial support of a cause.

Evaluating Sources: It's as Easy as A-B-C
The three criteria used for evaluating Web sources used are this page are Authority, Bias, and Currency. It is used for a Management Information Systems class required of all business majors. The currency criteria is extremely important because information in this area is rapidly changing. Many of these resources will be published by credible authors, but will not have documentation backed up by research.

Evaluating Web Resources
This document discusses various types of literature available on the Web. Examples include commercial pages, vanity publishing, gray literature, and scholarly information. The impact of domains upon the content of Web sites is discussed. Assets and liabilities of the Web are presented with examples for each characteristic provided. A rubric is available for students to print and use to evaluate Web pages.

Evaluating Web Sites
This page suggests three criteria for evaluating Web pages: authority, accuracy, and audience (AAA). It is used by a general education computer competency core class required for a wide variety of majors. Examples of pages that are credible and "incredible" are provided for each criteria. Sites are provided for students to practice evaluation skills. After their search strategy and selected site are approved by a librarian, students complete a worksheet validating that their site meets the AAA criteria.

Evaluating Websites: PART of the Research Process
This resource, created for use with education students, asks readers to evaluate Web sites based on four criteria: Purpose, Authority, Reliability, and Timeliness. Professors can require students to print and complete this checklist each time a Web site is submitted for research.

The Four Ws of Evaluating Information Sources: Education
This resource is used to facilitate class discussion and critical thinking. Students are asked to read the four sections on Who, What When, and Why prior to librarians visiting the classroom. These sections stress:
bullet Who is the author or company responsible for the content?
Explanations of how to locate author information are provided, along with positive and negative examples of author qualifications.
bullet What references or documentation are provided?
Specific examples of appropriate references for an information are highlighted.
bullet How old is the information?
Readers learn to discern the difference between appropriate dates for age dependent topics.
bullet Why was the information published?

Students are cautioned to be suspicious of resources that advocate a point of view, encourage them to purchase a product, or advocate financial support of a cause.

The Four Ws of Evaluating Information Sources: History
The Who, What, When, Why approach is also used in this evaluation model. However, this teaching tool incorporates a wide selection of critical thinking activities. Students are asked to:
bullet Demonstrate knowledge of the difference between primary and secondary sources and the nature of the authors of these sources.
bullet Explain the kinds of research questions they can answer using sources linked from this page.
bullet Analyze whether Web sites present singular or multiple points of view and present an argument for or against using these sites in their research.
bullet Describe why authors are or are not qualified to write on specific historical subjects.

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Tutorial Embedded Guides

Assignment Calculator
The assignment calculator breaks a speech or a research paper into steps according to the remaining time before the assignment is due. Steps 5, 6, and 7 provide students with directions for finding, reviewing, and evaluating books, periodical articles, and Web resources.

In the Know: Owens Library Research Tutorial
The In the Know tutorial, which is completed by students enrolled in the general education English Composition 112/115 course, contains a module entitled Evaluating Info that asks students to judge the quality of information using five criteria (Authority, Timeliness, Documentation, Review, Suitability).

SearchPath
The SearchPath tutorial, which is completed by students enrolled in the general education Fundamentals of Oral Communication course, contains a module on using the Web. Within this module, students are asked to judge what they find by questioning the accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and use of the Web site. Students are then asked to use this criteria while examining pre-selected Web sites. After examining the site, an explanation is provided with feedback.

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Additional Resources

Criteria for Evaluation of Internet Information Resources
Alastair Smith, an instructor of library and information science, provides a detailed outline and explanation of criteria for evaluating World Wide Web resources.

Evaluating Web Pages: Techniques to Apply & Questions to Ask
Developed by Joe Barker at UC Berkeley, this guide illustrates five steps for successfully evaluating Web pages.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Susan Beck of New Mexico State University Library provides examples, criteria, suggestions, and a bibliography that gives a rationale for "Why it's a good idea to evaluate Web sources."

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