Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Research

When performing research online, it is imperative to assess the quality of the information you find.  Anyone can have a website and there is no guarantee of the accuracy.

These are three things to help in judging the quality of the information found on the internet.

Reliability - is the website from a recognizable source?  Websites from well-known corporations, educational institutions, or official agencies typically produce quality information.  If the URL ends in .mil, .edu, .org or .gov it is customarily a good resource.  The screenshot below shows clearly the site is from the Better Business Bureau.

Accountability - If it is an article, is the author clearly identified? In the screenshot, the title of the article is "How to Research a Company" followed by the author's name.  Can you find the author's credentials?  In this particular article, they can be found at the end (see photo below).

Currency - How current is the information?  Is the article dated?  As you can see, this article was dated just over 6 months ago.  Is the website kept up-to-date?  One place to look is in the footer to see if the copyright date has been updated (see last photo).  From these three quick checks, it is pretty safe to say this article is going to be reliable and accurate.

About the author

Can you believe we are already on the letter "R"?

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