How to evaluate the accuracy of a website
Since internet websites are vital to the nation' s educational program, studies on how to evaluate the accuracy of a website have been made for the benefit of teachers and education officials. In this regard, focus is made mainly on the reliability of the websites before proceeding to the quality of the content they provide. The process of evaluation can be done at all levels by academes, who are the most likely beneficiaries of the programs and educational tools published in the internet. Some websites are used by students as research reference libraries so teachers must be aware which of the sites used by the students can be relied on as accurate sources of information. Luckily, there are scholarly organizations that regularly check the usefulness and accuracy of information found in websites.
Educators at all levels can devise and follow their own system of how to evaluate the accuracy of a website. The main principles involved are simple and can be done by subjecting the website to a series of meticulous observation and scrutiny. The website origin must be first determined and this can be initially done by the name of the website. Business organizations usually use ".com" after the names of their websites, government sites use ".gov", non-government oranizations use ".org." and computer networks use ".net. Websites also specify the country of their origin by the use of country codes like ".uk." for England.
It is obvious therefore that from the names of the website alone, one get a fair idea of its reliability. Of course, to go deeper into the evaluation process, one has to examine the contents and purposes of the websites which are mostly found in the introductory pages of websites. The qualifications of website authors are usually presented in these pages sometimes with summaries of the authors' biographies as well as the history of the organizations represented in the website. After getting information on the authors of the website, its credibility is partly established and proceeding to the contents of the website is the next logical evaluation step to follow.
On the contents of a website, the expertise of the persons who authored the publications can be definitely ascertained. Usually, articles prepared by known organization like public libraries or University Libraries are surely credible because of the many expert resource persons working for these organizations. In the case of education, articles prepared by education officials who have extensive experiences in their field are sure to be credible and provide accurate information on various aspects in their field of expertise. Yet, sometimes expertise in a particular field is not a guarantee to make the website useful for the user's purpose. Website information should be presented in a manner that can be applicable to the reader's field of action. How the information is presented in the pages of the internet is equally important if such information is to be used for the benefit of the user.
Today, much emphasis is given to K-12 education which prepares students to enter college after graduation from high school, making sure they have the necessary skills to pursue a college degree. Information technology paves the way for the smooth transfer of knowledge from educational organizations to the schools and the educators, and finally to the students, who are the final beneficiaries of all educational programs. Information from all these levels must also be relayed through the different layers in the educational system to evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs, which today are efficiently brought about through internet websites. For sure, how to evaluate the accuracy of a website is included as a well explained subject in these websites.
Sources For Evaluating Quality Content and Web Sites
- Better Read That Again: Web Hoaxes and Misinformation
- Evaluating Quality
- Evaluation of Information Sources
- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, or Why It's a Good Idea to Evaluate Web Sources