Thursday, July 5, 2007

Trust and Evaluating Online Sources

I was pointed to a thorough (and thoroughly useful) link to Georgetown University’s page about evaluating information on the Internet. This is a useful resource for folks writing articles. It offers suggestions about how to decide whether a source is trustworthy and accurate, as well as reminding you to check for bias when researching.

This led me to do some evaluating of my own. I discovered the free Internet Detective tutorial. This addresses not only how to research online but includes search tips and a section about plagiarism, copyrights, and proper citation of sources. Again, it’s directed towards writing school papers, but the points are applicable to any research.

Then I wandered across Cornell University’s site for evaluating web sites. This one has links to the likes of UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins as well as its own information. Yet again, something I’d never thought to look into proves to have some heavy-hitting support.

Part of the reason this information is so useful is that it gives you tools for evaluating your own writing. Consider your articles with some of these criteria in mind. Do you appear to be informed and unbiased? Can people verify your information and identity? Can they contact you or the people running the web site on which your article is posted?

Being a reliable source of information is a critical part of branding your identity as a writer. Being technically skilled and on time will only get you so far if the pieces you produce don’t contain usable information.


Sharon Hurley Hall


Thanks for the link to the Georgetown Uni resource. I found something like this a few years ago, forgot where I found it and have been looking for something similar. You have saved me some legwork.