Have you ever been assigned a research paper and had no clue where to find your information? Your teacher stresses for it to be accurate, but the websites you use don’t seem to be? For students researching incessantly to complete their research papers and homework assignments, many might find it exceptionally problematic to uncover the factual information through their searches. Despite the fact the Internet is a source full of useful information available to the public, there is as much false material as truthful.
Internet information is not just provided by knowledgeable student graduates, professors, or specialists who care to spread their knowledge; information can also be easily posted by somebody who simply knows how to create a website. There is no filter that decides what information is honest, and because of this, a weight is put on our shoulders to evaluate the information and decide whether the website is a reliable source.
There are many ways to judge the information presented. For websites, find out who authored the site. Usually on the top margin, or bottom of the page, there is a section of information that includes a hyperlink to another page that will include more information about the author. On this page, you will need to look for credentials, expertise, and prior education. The information provided here will partially indicate whether this website is reliable, or one to escape from. If the author’s information states that he/she is a college professor or an expert in the department you are researching, then there is a great chance that the information is reliable. If the information states that the author was a high school graduate who works in a bakery, there is a greater chance that the information is unreliable.
Secondly, look at the URL of the website. Begin to look at the last few letters of the line, more formally known as the suffix. Most commonly, you will have the following: .edu (educational), .com (community), .mil (military), .gov (government), or .org (nonprofit). Just by looking at the suffixes, you will be able to ascertain where the information is coming from. Since the suffix of the URL suggests the audience, it also suggests the reliability of the source as well.
Thirdly, begin to understand where the information is coming from. If the source of information you are researching is coming from a college website or an education institution, the reliability is much greater than that of “wikianswers” or “yahooanswers.” On those two websites, anyone’s input can be written on the screen of your computer. It is not judged for reliability. Because of this, these websites are not reliable because the information cannot be checked for factual evidence.
Fourthly, check if the author cited sources. Just as you have to do for your research papers, authors should cite where they got their information from. This verifies that the information they are providing for the public is accurate, and they are knowledgeable about how to provide information. To verify this further, open either “www.yahoo.com” or “www.google.com” and type “link:[name of your website]” with no space after the colon. As a result, the search engine will bring you to the website. If the site contains consistent information, then there is a greater chance that this website is reliable.
Fifthly, look at the layout of the website. If the website is easy to access and user-friendly, it is most likely more reliable than one that is arduous to use.
Sixthly, look at your information and decide if it is kept up to date. Reliable sources will likely cite their information and most importantly, keep their information current. However, if you are doing research on the date of when the Mona Lisa was painted, do not expect that information to be updated because it is a onetime situation. On the contrary, if you are researching the symptoms of a disease, statistics should be updated. The more updated the information is, the more reliable it will be to the public.
Seventhly, look at the grammar the website contains. If words are constantly spelled wrong, and sentences are continuously in fragments, it is likely that the author of this website was not very knowledgeable about the information he/she provided. Proof of this is as follows. There is a website that states that light does not come from a light bulb, but rather it sucks the dark from the outside world into the bulb so brightness remains. The site even goes as far to state ways in which this theory is true although the average human knows of its illegitimacy..
Information presented in books has the greatest chance of being reliable because books have to go through many editors in order to be published. If you are at a library or a trusted book store, you can also ask a worker for more information about reliable sources. They are experts in this department and will have accurate information about reliable sources.
Before you immediately acquire information on the Internet, be careful and make sure that the information is truthful and provides you with the correct knowledge. You don’t want to hand in a research paper with the theory of dark suckers now do you?