The Internet is a great place, especially for students, because it has a vast number of information that can be used for academic purposes.
Young people are very much updated when it comes to technology and prefers to do things with their gadgets and computers. Due to this, most companies and organizations have put up a website over the Internet so that they can reach out to everyone, anywhere in the world. However, putting up websites is not only for legitimate companies and organizations.
As a matter of fact, anyone can create a website about anything if they know how to read and click a mouse.
There are numerous websites over the Internet that are created by people who pose as someone who is knowledgeable about a certain topic but is completely the opposite when looked at closely. It is therefore important for students to learn how to evaluate Internet sources if they are valid and credible to be used for academic purposes. Robert Harris from the website Virtual Salt has come up with ways on how to evaluate Internet sources properly. He first advises researchers to determine what kind of information they are looking for because this way, it would be easier for them to screen the data that websites provide.
He then goes on to say that researchers should always look out for important information that websites should provide including the author, author’s title or position, author’s organizational affiliation, date of page creation or version, and author’s contact information (Harris, 2007). These would tell a researcher if the data posted on the website is valid and accurate enough to be trusted and used. Another important thing that students need to remember is the CARS checklist, which stands for credibility, accuracy, reasonableness, and support (Harris, 2007).
While credibility seems very hard to check, Harris provides ways to know if a particular source is credible. First, the author of the website or of a certain work should have his or her credentials posted on the website. Contact information should also be included. This way, people who want to communicate with the author would not have much difficulty trying to locate the author. A website can also be credible by undergoing quality control. Errors, either grammatical or technical, should make a person suspicious of the website’ credibility.
Researchers should also make sure that the information on the website is accurate and up-to-date. Thus, it is very important for authors and webmasters to constantly update their websites and see if changes should be made. They should indicate when a particular site was updated and created so that researchers would know if the whole website is still being monitored by the authors. All websites that tries to provide information to the public should never be biased. Content should be written with fairness and moderateness, according to Harris.
He indicates that if there is some hint of one-sidedness, researchers should think twice whether they should trust the website or not. Finally, information is always better if there are evidences that can support it. This is not to say that every website should have supporting material just for them to be considered “valid” in terms of evaluating them. However, there are some things that need support including statistical data or current events and certain things that people say should be documented especially if they are known people.
Many students are not aware that there are websites and other electronic types of information that should not be used for academic works. Some professors do not even allow their students to lift material from the Internet because of the damage it brings to their works. Still, it is hard for them to restrict students from Internet usage and this is why students and other researchers should learn how to evaluate Internet sources properly.
Harris, R. (2007, June 15). Evaluating Internet Research Sources. Retrieved September 15, 2008, from http://www. virtualsalt. com/evalu8it. htm
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Evaluating Internet Sources. (2017, Jan 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/evaluating-internet-sources-essay