Evaluating Online Sources

CONSIDER THE SOURCE
Identifying Bias in the News


Check out this helpful video clip of determining the validity of websites for research:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMKuIlvj0WQ


Looking for different view points on the news?  Don't pick one side. Instead, check out all sides!

http://www.allsides.com/


Criteria for Evaluation

Students need to learn to evaluate the quality of information they find on the web as well as other information resources such as books, magazines, CD-ROM, and television. Ask students to be skeptical of everything they find. Encourage them to compare and contrast different information resources. Consider the following ideas:

Authority. Who says? Know the author.

  • Who created this information and why?
  • Do you recognize this author or their work?
  • What knowledge or skills do they have in the area?
  • Is he or she stating fact or opinion?
  • What else has this author written?
  • Does the author acknowledge other viewpoints and theories?
Objectivity. Is the information biased? Think about perspective. 

  • Is the information objective or subjective?
  • Is it full of fact or opinion?
  • Does it reflect bias? How?
  • How does the sponsorship impact the perspective of the information?
  • Are a balance of perspectives represented?
  • Could the information be meant as humorous, a parody, or satire?
Authenticity. Is the information authentic? Know the source.

  • Where does the information originate?
  • Is the information from an established organization?
  • Has the information been reviewed by others to insure accuracy?
  • Is this a primary source or secondary source of information?
  • Are original sources clear and documented?
  • Is a bibliography provided citing the sources used?
Reliability. Is this information accurate? Consider the origin of the information. 

  • Are the sources truth worthy? How do you know?
  • Who is sponsoring this publication?
  • Does the information come from a school, business, or company site?
  • What's the purpose of the information resource: to inform, instruct, persuade, sell? Does this matter?
  • What's their motive?
Timeliness. Is the information current? Consider the currency and timeliness of the information. 

  • Does the page provide information about timeliness such as specific dates of information?
  • Does currency of information matter with your particular topic?
  • How current are the sources or links?
Relevance. Is the information helpful? Think about whether you need this information.

  • Does the information contain the breadth and depth needed?
  • Is the information written in a form that is useable (i.e. reading level, technical level)?
  • Is the information in a form that is useful such as words, pictures, charts, sounds, or video?
  • Do the facts contribute something new or add to your knowledge of the subject?
  • Will this information be useful to your project?
Efficiency. Is this information worth the effort? Think about the organization and speed of information access.

  • Is the information well-organized including a table of contents, index, menu, and other easy-to-follow tools for navigation?
  • Is the information presented in a way that is easy to use (i.e., fonts, graphics, headings)?
  • Is the information quick to access?
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