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WRI207: Writing for the Workplace: Evaluating Web Sources

Research resources for WRI 207

Using the Internet

Authority:

  • Is it clear who is responsible for the Web page? Who is the owner/publisher?
  • Is it clear who wrote the material?  Are their credentials clearly stated? Do they have authority in the field?
  • If the material is copyrighted, is the name of the copyright holder given?
  • Look at the web address - the domain may help determine authority:
    • .com
    • .edu
    • .gov
    • .mil
    • .org
    • .net

Accuracy:

  • Are the sources for any factual information clearly listed so that verification is possible?
  • Is the information clear of blatant grammatical, spelling and/or other typographical errors?
  • If there are graphs or charts, are they clearly labeled?  Is source information given?

Objectivity:

  • What is the purpose of providing the information?  Public service, profit, or persuasion?
    • Is there a financial or economic value to the site?
    • Is the site designed to promote a particular idea or point of view?
    • Is the site designed to educate?
  • Is the information free of advertising?
  • If there is advertising is it clearly differentiated from the informational content?

Currency:

  • Are there dates on the page indicating when it was written or last revised?
  • Are there indications that the material is kept current?

Coverage:

  • Is all the information you need available to you?  Is the site password protected?

 

(These criteria based on checklists in the book Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate)

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