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How can students judge sources from the Internet?

Judging Sources

There is a great deal of information on the Internet. Before students use that information, they need to ask whether or not the sources are trustworthy. These questions can help judge Internet sources:

  • Is the source a primary or secondary source? Facts from a primary or firsthand source are often more trustworthy than secondhand information.
  • Is the source an expert on the subject? An expert is someone who is respected in the field and considered an authority.
  • Is the information complete? Is information presented on all sides of an issue, not just facts that support the author’s opinion?
  • Is the information current? Generally, you want the very latest information.
  • Is the source biased? A biased source is one that favors one side or opinion over the others. Because of this, a biased source is not always a reliable source of information.

Related Web Sites

Here are a few additional Web sites that might be of assistance to judge Internet resources.

Tricks and Tips for Evaluating Web Sites

This page from the library at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana provides a more in-depth set of questions for determining whether Web information is reliable.

Evaluating Websites with the 5 W's

This short video provides another approach to evaluating Web sites--using the 5 W's.

Purdue OWL: Evaluating Sources

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers excellent help for all aspects of writing. This page focuses on evaluating sources. See especially the material under "Evaluating During Reading" and "Evaluating Print Versus Internet Sources."

Teacher Support:

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