CH 1030: Equilibrium

Professor Destin Heilman

Good Source or Not?

Evaluating Web Resources Checklist

Be sure to save the following:

  • Title of Source
  • URL/Web address
  • Author’s Name (if known)
  • Date of publication, broadcast, or last revision

Evaluate site based on criteria below:

Authority

  • Author/Organization is identifiable, i.e. information about the author or institutional affiliation and address are offered.
  • Sponsor/location of the site (identified by URL or web address) is appropriate to the material, i.e. .edu for educational or research material.
  • Contact information for the author or creator included. 
  • Email or submission form offered for questions or comments. 

Scope

  • Content relevant and useful. 
  • Includes a list of additional print or electronic sources.
  • Links included relevant and appropriate to the site.

Currency

  • Includes a publication or last revision date
  • Includes a date of copyright, publication, or broadcast.

Purpose

  • Intended audience is easily identifiable.
  • Intent of information (to inform, teach, sell, persuade, entertain or enlighten) is clearly stated or implied.

Accuracy

  • Includes references or displays knowledge of related sources, with proper attribution.
  • Includes a bibliography or appropriate credits.
  • Author provides both sides of the argument with no evidence of bias.
  • Author has a bias (i.e. corporate, issue-based or perspective), if so, identify

When evaluating the information for usefulness in relation to a research project, although site design or appearance is often given the most weight in determining credibility, the above will be more important!

Usability

  • Layout is clear and logical with well-organized subsections.
  • Navigation is easy, includes clearly labeled Back, Home, Go To Top icons/links and internal indexing links on lengthy pages.
  • Site loads quickly and is readily accessible.
  • Graphics and art serve a function.
  • All links to remote sites work.
  • Communication style is appropriate for intended audience.
  • Audio or text follows basic rules of grammar, spelling and composition.

Evaluating Information

This video is approximately 4 minutes. You can pause or rewind at any time using the controls below.

Transcript

In this video, we'll learn how to evaluate various sources of information. When evaluating a source, you should always consider who wrote it, who reads it, how it was developed and edited, and when it was written. Let's consider 3 sources related to the life-cycle assessment of a car: a journal, a book and a website.

The article. This article was written by professors of engineering and polytechnic schools, who have the proper credentials to be reliable sources for the topic. As a journal article, this source is intended to be read by scholars and researchers in its field. Articles are developed through research, then subjected to peer review before publication. Depending on the field of the article, the date of publication may be important. This article is from 2006, which means that it may be valuable, but you should also consider finding newer sources.

The book. Using Summon, we can find out who wrote the book we're considering. A Google search reveals that he is a professor at Carnegie Mellon. Books are intended for a wider audience than articles, ranging from experts to everyday readers. You can often read the preface to get an idea of who the intended audience of a specific book is. Because books are selected by publishers, they don't go through peer review like articles. Scholarly books, however, will include references to their sources. Once again, the field will determine whether or not you need to limit yourself to recent sources.

The website. This website was authored by the Green Car Congress, who provides editorials about sustainable mobility. When evaluating an organization's information, be sure to consider their bias. Websites are open for anyone to read, but this one is intended for those interested in energy and transportation issues. The article we're considering here references one source used in its development. It was not peer reviewed and is an opinion piece, not a scholarly work. These are all factors to consider when using a website in your research. One advantage of websites, however, is that they allow for faster publication and access of information. This article is from April 2011, which is quite recent.