Evaluating Credibility of a Web Source

in Website-monitoring

When conducting research on academic papers, it is imperative to include sources that are credible. Academic papers are not only judged on their contents but also on the accuracy of their sources. A researcher is surrounded by a host of information especially from the internet and judging which among the sources is credible for use in academic papers. Therefore, ability to evaluate the credibility of these sources is also considered a horned skill in school, work, and on general writing. With proliferating advertising, controversy and blogging, a horned researcher should be able to differentiate between credible and incredible web sources.

The first important step in evaluating the credibility of a web source is by looking at the content against the kind of information you are seeking. The web source must provide information relevant to the study subject. This will require use of common sense to judge when the information on the website is truth or fiction. Once the web source is seen to have information that rhyme with the subject under research, the next important step is to carry a litmus test to establish the credibility of the source. The first litmus test is authenticity. Who is the author of the source? Is the author credible? In most cases, web sources with .com extension may contain inaccurate information compared to those with .org and .gov extensions. Therefore, website with .org and .gov contain accurate information because they only put information that has been vetted. In evaluating authority, there should be clear description of the company or organization that has authored the source, clearly described in “About us” page. Next step is to determine the accuracy of the information presented in the website. This include establishing the author, looking for substantiating of the sources through cited (liked) sources, lack of grammatical and spelling errors, looking for how long the page was updated especially if its writing in MLA style citation, and others. Once the website has passed all these tests, the last will is it meant to provide knowledge? In most cases, information that is meant to convince one to buy something may contain exaggerations and hence not credible. Therefore, a good source will be meant to inform the reader on the subject. If the web source passes this litmus test, then it is credible to be used as an academic source.

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Evaluating Credibility of a Web Source

This article was published on 2012/03/24