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MKTG 201 - Principles of Marketing - Neff (Online): Websites

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Use this tool to get more focused results. Allows you to search different combinations of words and number ranges, limit results by a particular time frame (last updated anywhere between 24 hours and a year ago), and search specific websites or domain types. Refer to the chart on your right for more information about domain types.

Evaluating Information from the Web - The Rhetorical Triangle

Decorative graphic depicting the Rhetorical Triangle.

 

Evaluating Sources

 

When you read a text, start asking three questions:

  • Who is the author of the text?

  • Who is the intended audience for the text?

  • What is the purpose of the text?

 

Author: When you read a text, try to find out as much about the author as you possibly can:

  • Who is the author?

  • What do you know about the author?

  • Is he/she trustworthy? Why?

  • What else has he/she written on the subject?  

When you write your own papers, you will need to convince your reader about your own trustworthiness and credibility the same way that you need to satisfy your own curiosity about the author of a text you read.

 

Audience: There are many different types of audiences.  When you read a text, it is important to know who the intended audience is. When you write a text, it is integral to know who your readers are.  Identify the audience based on the following questions:  

  • Who is the target audience?

  • What is the audience’s interest in the subject?

  • What does the audience know about the subject?

  • How would the audience feel about the subject?

 

Purpose: When reading, think of the specific purpose as to why the author is writing it.  Writers can have numerous purposes which change from situation to situation and audience to audience. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the writer’s purpose for writing the article?

  • What specific information is the writer conveying?

  • Is the writer trying to convince you of something?

  • Is the writer trying to sell something?

*Adapted from the University Writing Program Northern Arizona University

Types of Websites and Their Uses

As a starting point for evaluating websites, one might use the part of the web address immediately after the "dot" (for example, .com) to try to determine the reliability of the information. This part of the address (or URL) is called a "top-level domain" that someone asks to have when creating their website. The websites you most frequently visit have top-level domains, or TLDs, that likely fall into one of the following categories:

  • Country Codes - two letter representation for a country, individual countries determine who may receive a wesbite within their country code
  • Unrestricted - three or more letter, no requirements necessary for a website ending with these TLDs
  • Sponsored - three or more letters, a Sponsoring organization determines what requirements must be met and regulates whether they are met before allowing that website to exist.
This table provides some common top-level domains, the category they fall into, and their typical usage
TLD Category A site with this TLD can be registered by...
.com Unrestricted Anyone
.edu Sponsored An accredited US-based college or university approved by EDUCAUSE
.gov Sponsored federal, state, or local governments within the US approved by an independent government agency
.net Unrestricted Anyone
.org Unrestricted Anyone
.va Country Code officials of the Vatican
.za Country Code mainly South African citizens and businesses, but no policy excludes others from registering