We all love the Internet. It is accessible, convenient and fast. Though the Internet provides a lot of information on almost anything you can think of, it may not be quite so easy to verify and evaluate that information. If you are going to use the Internet as your main source for information, beware! Remember, anyone can publish information on the Internet.
To help determine if you are looking at credible, quality information whether it be online or in a book or magazine, consider the "Five Ws" Who, What, When, Where and Why. If you can't find the answers to these questions then it may be best to look for another source.
Work in groups for this activity. Click on the links to the websites below. Take a look at each website. Use the following criteria to evaluate the sites.
Who is the author? Are they reputable?
Who is the audience? Is the information biased?
Is the information true? Can you find this information elsewhere?
When was the site last updated?
Would you use these sites as sources for a research paper?
The domain name is an indicator of the sponsoring organization of a particular website
.gov Government: The purpose is generally to inform, to post public documents, and to present research findings or statistics.
.edu Education: The purpose is typically to teach, inform, or present research.
(Note: Remember that as students and faculty we are all given web space to publish any information we choose! Be mindful of .edu)
.org Organization: The purpose may be to inform or present research, but it is frequently to sway opinion or recruit support.
.com Commercial: The purpose is usually to sell or promote a company, product or service
.net Network: The purpose is normally to provide services to organizations, both private and commercial, as well as to individuals.
One way to effectively search the Internet is to use Google Advanced Search (click on this link).
Or access the Advanced Search by typing in www.google.com , then type in your search terms and hit Enter or Search. At the bottom of your results screen you will see the words Advanced Search. Click there. That will take you to the Advanced Search page. From there you can type in what domain you want to search. Ex: .gov, .edu for the most credible websites.
This article from news source NPR explains what's going on behind the scenes with political ads.