Websites and their Validity

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills - Evaluating Information on the Web




There are lots of methods for evaluating information on the Internet. They more or less involve similar steps. One method is:

R - Read the URL

E - Examine the content

A - Ask about the author

L - Look at the Links


Did you know spaghetti grows on trees?



WEBSITES TO EXAMINE




Dog Island

http://www.thedogisland.com/

Dihydrogen Monoxide

http://www.dhmo.org/

Mechanical Marvels of the Nineteenth Century

http://www.bigredhair.com/robots/index.html

California’s Velcro Crop Under Challenge

http://home.inreach.com/kumbach/velcro.html

Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/

Martin Luther King - A True Historical Examination

http://martinlutherking.org/

Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie

http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

Mankato, MN

http://descy.50megs.com/mankato/mankato.html

Mankato, MN

http://www.mankato-mn.gov/

Sellafield Zoo

http://www.brookview.karoo.net/Sellafield_Zoo/

Uncyclopedia

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

Genochoice -

RYT Hospital - Dwayne Medical Center

http://www.genochoice.com/

Haggis Hunt

http://haggishunt.scotsman.com/

READ the URL

  • Look at the domain and its extension.

  • What is its purpose?

  • Scan the perimeter-look for ads

  • Is it a personal website?

  • Is there a country code?

  • Is it sponsored by a trustworthy organization?

TOOL: Country Codes on the Net



Examine the CONTENT

  • Is the content useful? Understandable? Readable?

  • Is the site up to date? Is it updated?

  • Do the facts mesh with other research you have done?

  • Are sources provided? How has the content changed?

  • Is there a link "ABOUT" on the page?

TOOL: Check it out on the WAYBACK machine.


Ask about the AUTHOR

  • Who wrote it?

  • Can you contact the author?

  • Do they provide credentials?

  • Does the content contain opinions?

  • Who owns the site?

TOOL: Use Easywhois to check on the author.

Look at the LINKS

  • Who links to it?

  • Are the links working?

  • Do they link to reputable sites?

  • Why are they linked?

TOOL: Use the link:command (yahoo, AltaVista, Google):