Evaluate Sources

Internet Log/Evaluation Form

Name:_______________________________ Research Topic: _________________________________

____________ What kind of site are you accessing?  Different domains will often contain different kinds of information.

.edu – education site
.com – commercial site
.gov – government
.mil – US military
.net – networks & internet service providers 
– non-profit organizations

Don’t believe everything you read on the Web!  You need to judge how accurate the information is.  The CARS checklist will help you evaluate the information you find.

The CARS Checklist (Credibility, Accuracy, Reasonableness, Support)

Credibility/Authority:  Can you identify the web author or owner?  What are the author’s qualifications for writing on the subject? Education and experience?
Accuracy/Currency:  Does the information you find contain real facts & numbers? How do you know? How recent are the facts and figures?  Do they tell us?  Does it matter?
Reasonableness:  Does the web site present a fair and balanced argument?  Reasonable in tone and content?  Not all authors and organizations are neutral.  Has the site avoided bias, prejudice and skewing of information?
Support:  Where does the information come from?  Does the site provide data and evident to support statements? Does the information contain sources?  Are the sources credible?  Does this site link to other quality sites?


Sometimes a book is better than the NET

1)  Compression – Two or more years of research condensed and synthesized into a carefully distilled summary.

2)  Selectivity – Provides the most pertinent and reliable information.  We can’t spend years on research, so trust the author to throw away the trash.

3)  Organization – Table of contents and index.

4)  Efficiency – The web is great for surfing and allowing discoveries, but it can also distract, delay and divert.  You don’t have to take the time to evaluate a book for authority.

5)  Scholarship – Because the internet is funded primarily by advertising, e-commerce, special interests and personal passions you cannot always find the best thinking of this generation available for free.  The best minds and the best writers still find printed books the primary medium for intellectual discourse.  Thinkers and commentators with credentials, experience and a solid basis for publishing still rely primarily upon printed books as information delivery systems.

6)  Quality – Just about anyone can pay to post a Web site. Do a search on any topic and you are likely to find an astonishing mix of quality. Printed books, on the other hand, usually pass through some rigorous quality control measures before they make it to market.  When we buy a printed book, we usually pay for more than the author’s best thinking.  We also pay for fact checkers and editors.

7)  Stretchability– Printed books offer opportunities to check connections between separate sections by turning pages. It is often easier to “stretch” one’s eyes and mind back to previous paragraphs with paper books and print outs of articles.

8)  Viewability – Screens can make it very difficult to explore large images and they may also force a huge amount of uncomfortable scrolling. Printed books may still win out when it comes to art, maps, illustrations and the display of long text passages.

McKenzie, Jamie.  “When the book? When the Net?”  The Educational Technology Journal. 2000.  From Now On. 1 Nov. 2010. http://fno.org/mar2000/whenbook.html


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