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ENGL Composition - Gleed

What do you need?

It doesn't matter if you can find a quality source if you aren't able to identify whether that source fits your information needs. By interpreting your assignment and taking a step back to think about your needs, you will be able to evaluate what you have found to determine its relevance to your needs. 

You need... Look for...
general information sources that provide overviews to help you gain understanding
opinions on a topic sources that share points of views on a topic
facts to support your statements research articles, data sources, or statistical resources
specific examples first-person narratives or case studies
an expert's take scholarly research articles, books, or other works written by someone who has demonstrated expertise
the latest information newspapers or websites

SIFT Information Evaluation Habits

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Stop

  • Do you know the website?
  • What is its reputation?
  • What is your purpose?
  • How do you feel?
  • Consider cognitive biases.

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Investigate the Source

  • What exactly is the source?
  • What can you find out about the website?
  • What about the author?
  • Is it worth your time?

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Find Other Coverage

  • Is other coverage similar?
  • Can you find a better source?
  • One more trusted?
  • More in-depth?
  • What do expert sources agree on with coverage?

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Trace to the Original Source

  • Can you find the original source?
  • What is the original context?
  • Has it been accurately presented?

Types of Top Level Domains 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 website 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