There is a great deal of information available on the Internet. Some of it is very credible and useful. However, there is a lot of misinformation and poorly researched information online too. As you become more skilled at academic online searching and locating materials you will become quicker at determining what information is useful and credible. In the meantime, consider the following frameworks.
Georgian College Library has produced a succinct video with tips to help you evaluate information you find online.
The CARS Checklist for Online Source Evaluation
The CARS Checklist for Online Source Evaluation (Harris 2010) is an appropriate means of determining what you need to look for when assessing the credibility of the information coming up in your online searches.
|Credibility||Trustworthy source, author’s credentials, evidence of quality control, known or respected authority, organisational support. Goal: an authoritative source, a source that supplies some good evidence that allows you to trust it.|
|Accuracy||Up to date, factual, detailed, exact, comprehensive, audience and purpose reflect intentions of completeness and accuracy. Goal: a source that is correct today (not yesterday), a source that gives the whole truth.|
|Reasonableness||Fair, balanced, objective, reasoned, no conflict of interest, absence of fallacies or slanted tone. Goal: a source that engages the subject thoughtfully and reasonably, concerned with the truth.|
|Support||Listed sources, contact information, available corroboration, claims supported, documentation supplied. Goal: a source that provides convincing evidence for the claims made, a source you can triangulate (find at least two other sources that support it).|
- (Source: Harris, Robert 2010, ‘Evaluating Internet Research Sources’.VirtualSalt. Accessed 17 October 2001
Note that when searching online, you may discover alternate frameworks for evaluating the quality of online information, for example this summary published by the University of Wollongong using the CRAAP framework (Currency, Relevancy, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose). After evaluating the source, feel free to use a framework that works for you.
Reading plus annotation
- Read Evaluating Internet Research Sources.
- Log in to Hypothes.is and post comments and annotations as appropriate (Remember to include the course tag: LiDA101 in your post.)
- If there are a large number of public posts, click on the search icon () and enter the course code (LiDA101) to filter posts for this course from the public feed.
- Try to find one example online to illustrate the point sharing the link in an annotation or comment. Replies and comments are encouraged.
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- Harris, Robert 2010, ‘Evaluating Internet Research Sources’. VirtualSalt. Accessed 17 October 2017.